Writing

ImageNigger. The word just hits the ears wrong. Tarantino has gotten a lot of flack for his entire film career for using the word and in the case of Django Unchained some may say (Spike Lee) that he has used the word excessively throughout this particular script. However, every single time you hear that word in this movie you feel it cut through you like a knife regardless of race. You FEEL it. You want Django to unleash those six shooters and  blast away every single slave master and racist piece of garbage in that film’s universe. Why? Because this is a movie about revenge. The audience needs to be 100% behind the Django character and his motivations. If you set an extremely strong black character in a film set in the pre civil war south then you want to see him get retribution on every single person on that screen that spouts that most hated word.

The film itself is excellent. Tarantino has refined his style every single time a new flick comes around. They have honestly been getting better and better and more well made. The funny thing about Tarantino is that you know whatever he commits to screen will be good. You know the guy isn’t making The King’s Speech or the next Dr. Zhivago. He makes sticky floor movie theater, pop corn munching, eye popping, visceral flicks that take you out of your droll little life. It’s escapism at its finest.

I also think this is the tightest script he has ever written as far as not having characters go into a long Tarantino-esque diatribe. This flick is direct and to the point. It’s a modern spaghetti western that presents you all the facts. You KNOW the good guys are gonna win but it’s a matter of HOW? The story itself is simple. A bounty hunter (Cristoph Waltz) frees a slave (Django) while he is on the hunt for three criminals that this particular slave knows. After all is said an done this bounty hunter decides to help Django find his wife and free her after of course spending some time collecting bounties, having adventures (off camera), and with Django finding out he’s actually quite brilliant and a natural shot. It’s about a three hour ride that will keep you completely entertained and will blow you away with a good dose of the old ultra violence. There is also a really excellent and much needed dose of humor in the movie. There are extremely dark and humorless scenes and you will believe that DiCaprio and Sam Jackson play two of the most despicable characters in film history but that is balanced by some really endearing light-hearted moments that do draw a lot from your Spaghetti Western classics.  Tarantino does a great job of creating a really awesome and cool and strong black hero that everyone can look up to in an age where you get two dimensional characters AT best in a film.

Listen, this review is just one guy’s opinion. If you have some time and want a great distraction and pretty excellent flick that will take you back to the days of tongue in cheek action, good acting, good story, and great visuals, then shut up and go see Django. You won’t get offended.

Macho Man isn’t a racist either. 

WWE_'13_box_art

Ok I get it. This game came out nearly two months ago and you’re getting a review from me now. Well, here is the thing; I’m not a pro game reviewer (although I once was) and I figured why not REALLY play through the game (Really? REALLY? REALLY!?) to give you what I feel are my two hard earned cents. Being a huge wrestling fan, wrestling show host, fantasy wrestling writer (all but one true) I also figure that my two cents may be worth at least two and a half.

Now, the hype for the game was as expected. Every year you are promised better graphics plus more bells and whistles. Personally  I feel like they went above and beyond with this installment and delivered on most promised. The gameplay is more fluid than the last couple years installments, the graphics are better, the entrances are better to the point where sometimes you are forgetting your playing a game, and the potential match quality is extended because of the new power ratings system (you are no longer winning matches RIGHT after you hit a finisher within a few minutes, you really have to BEAT your opponent.) You get a pretty excellent wrestling game right off the bat, which is what you want as a fan. However, it does not stop there by a long shot.

If you enjoyed the Attitude Era as much as I did then you would certainly find that the AE mode is something to pick up the game for (sorry fans of the AEyou will never EVER see that kind of programming on WWE TV agane.) I am in my early 30′s and seeing some of your favorite older moments brought to pixelated life in the palm of your hand is a pretty sweet feeling. Although it’s not perfect it still delivers on some extremely hot fan favorite moments (Formation of DX) , forgotten moments (Mankind/Kane Hell in a Cell), and even gives you a ratings timeline with WWF vs. WCW during the Monday Night Wars.  The cool thing about all these storyline moments and matches that you have is that you can just simply win your match OR go above and beyond and score bonus materials by completing optional match objectives, which is a nice touch for any fan who wants those EXTRA costumes, arenas, matches, or belts. The match types are fantastic and you get everything from your regular one on one to your glorious Hell in a Cell. This game also makes it easy for you to break your opponent through barriers and tables. The WWE Universe mode is pretty much fully customizable and yields very interesting outcomes dependent on how you set your rosters.

Now, as soon as I got the game I plunked down the extra money to be able to download all future DLC for free. Let me tell you that it’s worth every penny. So far the DLC packages have been great and they include a plethora of superstars past as well as some new ones whom you may want to satiate further than usual, if you get my meaning. My only hope is that they keep the DLC coming because in years past they give you three at most. I would love to see some classic stars return such as Macho Man, Hogan, and Flair.

The controls are pretty much the same as the last few years but the reversal system seems a bit more sensitive in this incarnation, which is a plus. And, as I said before – you actually can have some 5 star matches because the AI is way better in WWE ’13 than other earlier games. However, the game is not without its faults. There are a few glitches that I hope get resolved at some point. Sometimes you or your opponent may freeze with your arms outstretched (exactly like Y2J) and start floating around the screen. Also, on a rare occasion the button commands will not work with regards to climbing out of the ring. I would say my biggest gripe with an otherwise fantastic game is the fact that the commentary audio is poorly recorded and the canned commentary gets very old very quick. There could have been a lot of little extras within the commentary that would have given the game that extra oomph. The crowd graphics and animations leave a bit to be desired but I am not all to concerned over that at all because that’s not why you got the game in the first place. On a side note it also really grinds my gears that you are not getting a legit Cactus Jack theme song.

Overall, this is a great game for any and all wrestling fans and should be a must have on anyone’s holiday list. If you got kids that are into wrestling then I do suggest this game because of the fun factor and the fact that the more racy moments were taken out of the attitude era mode (no Rick Rude, China, or Sable to be found as well.) I would give the game an A for overall excellence, roster (IT’s HUGE!), Universe mode, CAW, AE mode, and just the overall big feel of the game. Here’s to hoping that next years version will be that much better AND that some long gone WWE wrestlers make it into the game (Ric Flair, Hardy Boyz, Dudleys, Al Snow, Carlito just to name a few) and I would personally love it if there was an old school mode including Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Tully Blanchard, and I could go on…Frank Gotch, Buddy Rogers, Nick Bockwinkel.) Just get the game already!

If you are as big an Austin/CM Punk fan as I am you can check out this video hyping the game. It makes you want that forever teased Austin/Punk match that much more.

King

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am the biggest Soundgarden fan. I consider myself an OG SG fan to be honest. The first time I heard them was a very long time ago and the first time I saw them on the small screen will forever stick with me as one of the reasons why I decided to rock a guitar. That being said – we all know how great their older albums are. More specifically we all know how great Badmotorfinger and Superunknown are where Down on the Upside had a slew of classics but no real cohesion. But, I am not here to talk about those albums right now. I am here to talk about King Animal. Now, don’t get me wrong I dig the reunion, I was excited for new material, and I even saw them live on my 30th birthday (magical) and I did give this new album a big listen. I gotta tell ya – it’s good but not GREAT. It starts out amazing and becomes a convoluted mess that should have just been another Chris Cornell solo album after the first four songs. My biggest problem isn’t that the songs are for the most part mediocre it’s that you aren’t getting what I feel like is that full SG oomph. Even the opening tracks are some what diluted from what you would expect to hear from a band that has not had a studio album in close to two decades. I get behind the first few tracks and really dig the singles but they just leave you wanting more. What happened to the hooks? Where is the underlying angst? I’m glad Cornell is sober this time around but when you think about it he is also the only one of the original four who has done any original music (besides Cameron in PJ) Now, I’m not saying this is a paycheck they phoned in a few weeks of work for but I AM saying that the cage is rusty indeed.

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