Death of the Critic

Action

Anatomy of a Scene - The Matrix

Written by: Tom Blaich

Matrix_Lobby


It is harder than you might think to make a great action scene. But it isn’t that hard to make a good one. Just get an engaging actor, give them a big gun, and a crowd full of goons to let loose upon. A scene like this is entirely serviceable, but many directors try to make it more complex by incorporating too many characters, with too confusing of action, and all of a sudden, you don’t know what is going on anymore. What was once a good action scene has become terrible. A good scene needs to remain clear, no matter what. You should be able to identify the positions of characters and how they are moving through the world, without unnecessary establishing shots bogging it down, all while remaining compelling and heart pumping.

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Situational Invincibility and How it is Ruining Action Movies

Written by: Tom Blaich

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We like our action movies to be big, to be brash, to be full of gunfights and cool explosions and scores of dead bodies littering the streets in the wake of our stalwart hero. But this same desire often raises a problem: our hero can’t die, or even barely be hurt at all, so all elements of tension, all suspension of disbelief go out of the window.We never wonder if our hero will rescue their friend or kill the bad guy, because you can be damned sure they will, with only an annoying flesh wound and a few smartass quips to speak to the “struggle” that they went through on the way.

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Why Did I Watch That? - Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

Written by: Tom Blaich

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I watched a bad movie today. It is sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. Watching bad movies that is. I revel in the terrible plots, paper-thin characters, cheesy effects, and wooden acting. It fuels me. I love them in a way that I can’t quite describe, or feel about bad games or music. To me, bad films deserve to be recognized, talked about, and maybe occasionally ridiculed. This one is no exception.

Video game movies are almost universally terrible. They’ve attempted different franchises and actors in pursuit of finally making a good video game movie. And it just isn’t working. In the midst of this, somehow, a sequel to Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, a movie about finding a magical triangle that can control time that was almost universally critically panned, was greenlit. A franchise built almost entirely upon leering shots of Angelina Jolie being sexy.

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Why Did I Watch That? - Wolf Warriors

Written by: Tom Blaich

Wolf_Warriors


I watched a bad movie today. It is sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. Watching bad movies that is. I revel in the terrible plots, paper-thin characters, cheesy effects, and wooden acting. It fuels me. I love them in a way that I can’t quite describe, or feel about bad games or music. To me, bad films deserve to be recognized, talked about, and maybe occasionally ridiculed. This one is no exception.

One of the joys of this job is that I get to broaden my horizons. I’ve always loved action movies, from the amazing to the… well, markedly less so, and in the past year, I’ve gotten the chance to explore action cinema from all across the world.
Wolf Warriors is far from the best action movie I have ever seen, but it is remarkably competent for what it is, with a few cool visuals and laughs thrown in to complement the experience. It has got a few faces you’ll recognize, including the ever present, C-movie “star” Scott Adkins, who does a fairly good job at playing the bad guy instead of a generic, hunky hero.

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Why Did I Watch That? - Navy SEALs: The Battle for New Orleans

Written by: Tom Blaich

Navy_Seals_Cover


I watched a bad movie today. It is sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. Watching bad movies that is. I revel in the terrible plots, paper-thin characters, cheesy effects, and wooden acting. It fuels me.
I love them in a way that I can’t quite describe, or feel about bad games or music. To me, bad films deserve to be recognized, talked about, and maybe occasionally ridiculed. This one is no exception.

I don’t know what exactly about zombies caught the attention of the world, but for the last few years, the shambling undead have filled our screens, becoming the lowest common denominator of antagonists. More than anyone else, the makers of bad movies love zombies. The makeup is cheap, there is plenty of action, and little moral dilemma in mowing down giant crowds of them in bright red splashes of blood and gore. To most of these zombie films, the more violence they can cram into the runtime, the better, and
Navy SEALs: The Battle for New Orleans is no exception. And for a movie titled as such, the action feels much smaller scale than the filmmakers would like us to believe.

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John Wick: Chapter 2 - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

Teaser Poster


It is damn hard to do action well. Harder yet is to do it twice in a row.
John Wick crashed into the action scene and made an indelible mark with stylish and well-choreographed action, a highly stylized aesthetic, and an interesting world to back it all up. It took the old writer’s adage of “show, don’t tell” to heart in a way that few films do, and with it created a compelling story that dragged you in and made you want to learn more. Chapter 2 had the incredibly difficult task of following this up well. John flirts with the underworld in the first, and as he walked away with his new friend at the end, we were left to wonder if he was truly back, or if he was going to try to pick up the pieces of his shattered life.

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Why Did I Watch That? - The Accountant

Written by: Tom Blaich

the-accountant-correct


I watched a bad movie today. It is sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. Watching bad movies that is. I revel in the terrible plots, paper-thin characters, cheesy effects, and wooden acting. It fuels me. I love them in a way that I can’t quite describe, or feel about bad games or music. To me, bad films deserve to be recognized, talked about, and maybe occasionally ridiculed. This one is no exception.

I wanted to step away from the norm here to talk a little bit about a movie that I watched this weekend.
The Accountant isn’t necessarily a bad movie, it is just a confused one, trying to make an autistic John Wick into a cartel accountant. In a lot of ways, the story doesn’t make sense, but the action is fairly well one, and I’m always a fan of Ben Affleck. I just had a hard time with a lot of this movie. It is funny, but it is rarely trying to be so.

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Why Did I Watch That? - 4 Got 10

Written by: Tom Blaich

4_Got_10_DVD_Cover


I watched a bad movie today. It is sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. Watching bad movies that is. I revel in the terrible plots, paper-thin characters, cheesy effects, and wooden acting. It fuels me.
I love them in a way that I can’t quite describe, or feel about bad games or music. To me, bad films deserve to be recognized, talked about, and maybe occasionally ridiculed. This one is no exception.

Dolph Lundgren is a special guy. His performances as a large, vaguely foreign, man-shaped meat monster have shaped the face of terrible action cinema since he burst onto the scene with 1985’s A View to a Kill. Over the next 31 years, he has appeared in over 80 films, in roles large and small. We hated him as the robotic Ivan Drago in Rocky 4, loved him in 1989’s The Punisher. And in 4 Got 10, well, he exists.

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The Backlog - Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Written by: Tom Blaich

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I have a confession to make. Like many of you reading this, I have a list of games that I’ve been meaning play for years. I have way too many games on Steam, and a stack of cases sitting next to my TV. Close to five hundred games now. Maybe more. It makes me feel guilty. I haven’t touched 90% of them in one way or another. I need to fix that. So this week, I dug deep into my
backlog and pulled out a game. I want to play all of them; I’ve just never had the chance. Now’s the time.

There are a few games that I am really sad to still have sitting in my backlog, games that I felt that I needed to play and I never got the chance. Shadow of Mordor has been a part of this shame pile since it came out. Finally a good Lord of the Rings game, which is something that I’ve been missing for a long time. It took elements from so many other games that were successful and crammed it all together and somehow it worked. From the “Batman combat” to the Ubisoft tower climbing in a nice open world. But what really sealed the deal was the “Nemesis System” and its possibilities in the future of games.

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Dishonored 2 - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

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There is a lot of stuff that I really love about the Dishonored series. They nailed down stealth gameplay in a way that few other games have ever managed, allowing you to be either brutally efficient killing machine or stealthy, nonviolent avenger. There are so many great things that start to add up to make Dishonored 2 a great game. In many ways it’s better than the first, giving you options that you never knew you wanted until they were presented to you. But in two crucial ways it falls short for me. I like the way that this game plays but the story itself does nothing to pull me through the worlds. It feels like a flimsy excuse to put your characters back into the same situation as they were in during the first game.

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Suicide Squad - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich


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It is no secret that
Suicide Squad's production was plagued with problems from the beginning. From stories of reshoots, reedits, and test audiences changing the tone of the film, we don't know what the movie was originally going to look like. What we do know is that the movie that we did get is ultimately disappointing. Bogged down by an oversized cast, poor writing, plot holes, and unkept promises, what started out as an exciting trailer ended poorly and leaves a rotten taste in your mouth.

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