Friday, 28 February 2014

Oscar predictions - who will - and who should - win

Oscar predictions - who will - and who should - win

On Monday NZT, we will know who will be celebrating taking home the Oscars for 2014.

But as every critic is wont to do at this time of year, it's time for me to nail the courage of my convictions to the whole and try and pick the winners.

Best picture:
Who will win - 12 Years A Slave - there's no better film around this year. While DBC strings together a couple of great performances, it doesn't soar into the skies in the way 12 Years does. Sure, it's tough material to watch in places, but as a masterclass of film, Steve McQueen has put together something powerful, moving and self-assured. 
Who should win - 12 Years A Slave (see above)
Wild cards - Gravity tied in the recent PGAs with 12 Years, but while its effects are tremendous, the story can't hold up next to the better narrative of 12 Years - but it could win on second choice votes...
Nominees - "American Hustle," ''Captain Phillips," ''Dallas Buyers Club," ''Gravity," ''Her," ''Nebraska," ''Philomena," ''12 Years a Slave," ''The Wolf of Wall Street."

Best actor
Who will win - Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club. He's got form from winning over awards season, but sometimes, that could throw a curveball from this sure thing
Who should win - Matthew McConaughey. Strong performance and a resurgence of career from this one time rom-com stable
Wildcards - Is this Leo's year? 4 times nominee, and lost each time - could the Academy finally pour some love on him, fifth time around?
Nominees - Christian Bale, "American Hustle"; Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"; Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Wolf of Wall Street"; Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"; Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club."

Best actress - 
Who will win - Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine. A strong performance in a return to form for director Woody Allen should see Blanchett continue her awards run.
Who should win - Cate Blanchett. 
Wild cards - don't rule out Dame Judi Dench.... word is Philomena's long run campaign may be helping it.
Nominees Amy Adams, "American Hustle"; Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"; Sandra Bullock, "Gravity"; Judi Dench, "Philomena"; Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County."

Best supporting actor:
Who will win - A tough one in this field - I'm torn between Jared Leto's Rayon in DBC and Abdi's utterly captivating turn holding his own in Phillips. 
Who should win  I'm calling it - Barkhad Abdi - no other debut was more astonishing than his.
Nominees: Barkhad Abdi, "Captain Phillips"; Bradley Cooper, "American Hustle"; Michael Fassbender, "12 Years a Slave"; Jonah Hill, "The Wolf of Wall Street"; Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club."

Best supporting actress:
Who will win - Jennifer Lawrence - she's picked up pre-awards which makes her the favourite. Though previous wins in as many years may count against. And her turn in Hustle seemed oddly miscast. I'm thinking Lupita Nyong'o may take it though in a last minute surge.
Who should win - Lupita Nyong'o. Expect the 12 Years a Slave actress to get the nod for role, and to make up for the fact that in a strong year, which sees awards more evenly split, there will be a need to give love to those in this film.
Nominees:  Sally Hawkins, "Blue Jasmine'''; Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"; Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"; Julia Roberts, "August: Osage County"; June Squibb, "Nebraska."

Best director: 
Who will win - Either Steve McQueen, who did a sterling job of handling something difficult and made something powerful - or Alfonso Cuaron, who redefined the space film in just 90 mins.
Who should win - See above
Wildcard - I'd love to see Payne pick something up for Nebraska, but I reckon, with the split this year, the odds are against this happening.
Nominees -David O. Russell, "American Hustle"; Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"; Alexander Payne, "Nebraska"; Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"; Martin Scorsese, "The Wolf of Wall Street."

Best foreign language film - 
Who will win - I've only seen 2 of the nominees, but I'm hearing good things about The Great Beauty
Who should win - Again, hard to call given the above confession, but The Hunt was some pretty compelling cinema, pinned by a strong lead from Mads Mikkelsen.
Nominees : "The Broken Circle Breakdown," Belgium; "The Great Beauty," Italy; "The Hunt," Denmark; "The Missing Picture," Cambodia; "Omar," Palestine.

Best adapted screenplay: 
Who will win - Philomena
Who should win - Philomena; Steve Coogan's Baby Cow production pulled together a sensational piece that was rich and resonated with many.
Nominees : Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, "Before Midnight"; Billy Ray, "Captain Phillips"; Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, "Philomena"; John Ridley, "12 Years a Slave"; Terence Winter, "The Wolf of Wall Street."

Best original screenplay
Who will win - Her
Who should win - Her. Spike Jonze's story captured the essence of something that's just around the corner for this tech-infested world. But he infused it with a heart, an aching universality and a soulful fragility that deserves to be recognised. 
Wildcard - Nebraska - I'd love to think this downplayed story deserved something too - can't we call it a tie?
Nominees - Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, "American Hustle"; Woody Allen, "Blue Jasmine"; Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack, "Dallas Buyers Club"; Spike Jonze, "Her"; Bob Nelson, "Nebraska."

Best Animated Feature Film: 
Who will win - Horrible feeling Frozen may take it. This was a film that left me cold - and offered nothing fabulously new except a nice twist on love saving the day.
Who should win - The Wind Rises. It'd be nice to see the Academy award a career that's ending - but will they find love for Miyazaki?
Nominees - "The Croods"; "Despicable Me 2"; "Ernest & Celestine"; "Frozen"; "The Wind Rises."

Check back on Monday and see how I did - and hit me up in the comments with your picks and tips!

Call of Duty®: Ghosts Onslaught DLC Pack Now Available

Call of Duty®: Ghosts Onslaught DLC Pack
Now Available for PlayStation and Windows PC Players

First DLC Pack Features Four New Multiplayer Maps, All-New “Maverick” Dual-Purpose Weapon, Iconic Horror Character Michael Myers, and
“Nightfall” – the First Installment in Extinction's Four-Part Episodic Story

Call of Duty: Ghosts players on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC can now purchase the first DLC Pack – Onslaught.  The new DLC Pack delivers four unique and classically designed Call of Duty multiplayer maps, the all-new “Maverick” dual-purpose Assault Rifle/Sniper Rifle, and the first installment in Extinction’s four-part episodic narrative, “Episode 1: Nightfall.”

New multiplayer maps in Onslaught include:

-          Fog: Set alongside the banks of a murky lake, players skilled enough to pick up the map’s unique Field Order can become the embodiment of evil and don the mask of Michael Myers, one of cinema’s most iconic horror characters, in this chilling homage to classic horror films.

-          BayView: A coastal Californian boardwalk that offers players fast-paced run-and-gun gameplay amid a seaside town. Clever players will be able to climb onto the map's moving trolley to engage enemies, as well as call in devastating artillery strikes from the Naval Destroyer anchored offshore.

-          Containment: This map drops players into a raging battle amidst a war-torn Mexican village, where the action centers on the crippled remains of a small bridge holding a hi-jacked truck leaking radioactive material.

-          Ignition: Is a reimagined version of "Scrapyard" – the fan-favorite multiplayer map from Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 2, placing players into a deserted space launch facility with frenetic action amongst abandoned warehouses, flame trenches, a massive transport crawler, and dynamic map elements that can take players out if they're not paying close attention.

Onslaught also arms players with the Maverick, a deadly new, dual-purpose addition to their multiplayer arsenal. Outfitted with a lightweight wood stock, players can choose to use the Maverick as either an Assault Rifle or Sniper Rifle, depending on their tactical needs.

Anchoring Onslaught is "Episode 1: Nightfall," the first installment in Extinction's new, four-part episodic narrative. As the initial foray into this single, connected story that will be told across each DLC Pack launch throughout the year, "Episode 1: Nightfall" takes fans to a remote research facility hidden deep within the Alaskan wilderness, where a small recon team must infiltrate the facility to find out what happened to the mysterious Nightfall Program. This expanded Extinction storyline introduces new characters, plus two all-new alien species, and debuts an exclusive Venom-X weapon that pulverises the Cryptids, as players delve deeper into the story of what happened following mankind's first contact with the Cryptids in Colorado.

Fans can purchase Onslaught as either a standalone DLC Pack or purchase the Call of Duty: Ghosts DLC Season Pass.  Season Pass holders not only get all four epic DLC Packs* for the suggested retail price of $69.95, but they also get instant access to the downloadable multiplayer map “Free Fall” as well as the Team Leader Digital Pack, which comes with a unique multiplayer character head, weapon camo, reticle, player patch, player card and player background.

Call of Duty: Ghosts game sold separately and is required to play this DLC Pack.

Doctor Who: The Moonbase: DVD Review

Doctor Who: The Moonbase: DVD Review

Rating: PG
Released by BBC and Roadshow Home Entertainment

The second ever story to feature the Cybermen is a traditional tale of a base under siege from the Second Doctor Patrick Troughton's reign at the helm of the TARDIS.

When the Doctor, Polly, Ben and Jamie land on the moon, they soon find themselves threatened by the creatures as they try to take over a base which controls the Earth's weather...

The Moonbase is 50% live action and 50% animated with 2 episodes missing. While the animation's impressive, it can't really make up for a traditional and slightly plodding Who story that's not as gripping as you'd hope for from the return of the silver meanies.

A Behind the scenes doco is fairly gentle stuff and perhaps the biggest drawcard of the extras, but this release is nothing more and nothing less than a Doctor Who release. It's not exactly gripping, but not exactly a disaster.


Thursday, 27 February 2014

Dark Souls 2: : Dark Intentions BTS Video drops

Dark Souls 2: : Dark Intentions BTS Video drops

Just released is  the new Developer video for DARK SOULS II called ‘Dark Intentions'

DARK SOULS II will launch in Australia and New Zealand on March 13, 2014 on the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft with the PC edition to follow shortly in 2014

Non-Stop: Movie Review

Non-Stop: Movie Review

Cast: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Linus Roache
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

It's to the skies that Liam Neeson takes in this thriller, which promises twists and turns and suspense aplenty amid the Seatbelts sign being switched on.

A grizzly and wearied looking Neeson plays Bill Marks, a burned out veteran of the Air Marshals service, who's assigned to a flight but would rather be in his car, drinking. Troubled and definitely not a people person, Marks views his time in the air as a necessity and a distraction rather than a chance to save the passengers within from any incoming threats.

Though, his day takes a turn away from the routine when he receives a page on his secured network pager, telling him that unless he pays $150 million, someone on the plane will die. And he has just minutes to sort this - now, the clock is ticking and everyone on a crowded transatlantic flight is a suspect....

Non-Stop is a thrill ride that gets some parts right, and other aspects wildly wrong.

With shades of Passenger 57 in terms of idea, there's plenty of meat on this premise to be explored - and Neeson does a great job of selling it, committing wholeheartedly to the at times, creaking story. Along with Downton Abbey's Lady Mary (aka Michelle Dockery) as an airline stewardess and Julianne Moore as a mysterious woman sat next to Marks on the flight, the cast is incredibly solid and convincing as the story takes a turn for the absurd when the motivation for the hijacking is revealed.

Occasionally the sense of paranoia is ramped up with shades of Flight 93's passenger heroics thrown in for good measure as those seated in economy rise up and revolt against Marks' apparent paranoid delusions; and Neeson plays those scenes well. The tension's quite well held together initially as you try and work out who is responsible for what's going on - and to be frank, every possible twist is exploited and turned about as far as it can go for the benefit of the film. There also moments when Neeson exploits those particular action acting skills that he so honed on the Taken films to ensure there's an ass-kicking ahead when it's needed in among the ludicrous dialogue and growing absurdity of the situation.

Eventually though, there's an unbeatable element of silliness which creeps in - Marks makes a ludicrous offer of international travel for all for a year and a couple of other things happen which will make you guffaw, but all in all, the high flying Non-Stop just about holds it together with its 80s action thriller vibe, complete with stereotyped characters. (Just you wait until the scene where American news media gets hold of the story that an Irishman has apparently hijacked a flight...)

It just about - but barely - works due to Neeson's committed performance and playing it diabolically straight, leaving you questioning whether he's telling the truth as the layers of the puzzle are revealed; he makes the irrational seem totally irrational as the exposition comes flying thick and fast. Granted, the final reveal is a bit of a contrived out of left-field let down.

Non-Stop is very much like a plane journey - it's a claustrophobic thrill ride if you're prepared to check your brain at the departure gate; strap yourself in for the long haul and expect a lot of turbulence on the way. It's highly implausible and utterly ludicrous in parts - and the ending makes you feel a little like you were put in economy after being treated like business class for parts of the ride.


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Brand new Godzilla trailer roars in

Brand new Godzilla trailer roars in

A brand new trailer for Godzilla has just dropped - featuring Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston.

Here it is - your first look at the Godzilla film from Gareth Edwards.

Godzilla stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche and Ken Watanabe.

TxK: PS Vita Review

TxK: PS Vita Review

Released by Sony Computer Ent
Platform: PSVita

For a certain generation of gamers, the name Jeff Minter is iconic.

The long haired game developer was responsible for some of the best computer games titles of the formative days of gaming - predominantly Attack of the Mutant Camels, a side shoot'em up scroller which was part of many a gamer's youth.

In this update of Tempest from Llamasoft, the tube shooter gets a next gen port over which loses none of the fiendish simplicity of the best shoot'em ups of yesteryear.

Basically, in among glowing neons, a pumping dance soundtrack and a series of oncoming scrolling, you are the pilot of a fighter, defending the 2 bit world from the ongoing wave of attacks from aliens. But, unlike most shooters, you're in the position of moving around a fixed vector and shooting at them - which makes more sense if you see the graphics of the game.

Essentially, the game is simply about shooting and survival - anything else is just a bonus. (Though there is a tactical level of the game too) All you have to do is zip around the structure, enjoying the psychedelic visuals, and pressing the X button on the controller. Granted, sometimes the aliens can overwhelm you but by tapping the screen, you can unleash "electric death" upon them (aka a smart bomb)

Power ups include the chance to jump off the fixed wire frame structure and a robot who can fire in tandem with you - all of which are helpful as the onslaught continues. But to be honest, they're all supplementary to the cause, as all you really need to know is that you can pick up this game and just blast away in short bursts or for a longer time.

There's humour aplenty in this game as well - after a certain point, I was told I had won a Cup of Tea, which brought a smile to my face and bemused me intensely. There are apparently 100 levels to this game, but it's not really about clocking the game (even though you can start again from where you left off) - merely enjoying it as it spools out in front of you. It's perfect handheld VITA entertainment and with crisp visuals, the trippiness of it all becomes apparent the more you play.

TxK is proof that really a simple concept and playability in its most basic form is all you need for a shoot'em up - nothing needs to be overthought and the game can be played on its surface merits and nothing else.


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man: Rise of Electro sizzle reel

The Amazing Spider-Man: Rise of Electro sizzle reel

When Electro rises, Spider-Man's greatest enemies will unite. Will Peter Parker pay the ultimate price to be the hero he is destined to become?

Here's the latest The Amazing Spider-Man: Rise of Electro sizzle reel 

Starring Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man and Jamie Foxx as Electro

Monday, 24 February 2014

Lone Survivor: Movie Review

Lone Survivor: Movie Review

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana
Director: Peter Berg

The pantheon of war movies is littered with many attempts to show the bravado and courage of those under fire - but who are usually triumphant.

Lone Survivor sets out to do some of that - partially.

It's the story of the ill-fated mission Operation Red Wings, in which a four man US Navy Seal team were dispatched to the Afghanistan hills to capture or kill notorious al Qaeda leader Ahmad Shahd in June 2005.

But things go wrong when the quartet encounter a group of goat herders who may or may not be affiliated to the al Qaeda presence in the village below....Soon, all four of them, including Marcus Luttrell (played by a beefed up Mark Wahlberg), are fighting for survival, with no idea if help will be coming from their colleagues back at the base.

Lone Survivor is a brutal and brutalising piece of cinema - it's an unflinching look at a side of war rarely glimpsed.

However, with the troops under fire, all chances of characterisation are out of the window as the banter between the four simply resorts to an f-bomb every few words. Director Peter Berg is hardly interested in that though, given that he starts the movie with snapshots of the training that the SEALS undergo, and the bond that forms as they are broken or complete the training.

An initial sequence on a base gives some moments of insight into the SEAL lifestyle - worries over weddings, colour schemes for rooms at home, and whether to buy a horse or not and allow a newbie to join their ranks, but they're swiftly dispatched for a more visual and bone-crunching experience as the fire fight begins. A major kernel of interest - the morality of troop behaviour in war and during contact - is also jettisoned at a time when characters could have risen to the fore; it's a shame as Berg drops the one narrative ball that could have been much more.

While Berg's crafted something that collects together the horror of being pinned under fire and a situation many of us will never experience as well as the courage of the men under attack, he would have benefited from a slightly more subtle approach in places. Lingering close ups are a little too heavy handed - one on the paint scheme floating away from one of the Navy Seals after he's shot could have done with more subtlety - granted, with the story being taken from Luttrell's book, there's little wriggle room for him to manoeuvre outside of the fight sequences, which are visceral, bone-crunching and claustrophobic.

Inevitably a massive fire fight erupts at the end (which is apparently at odds with the reality of what actually happened) - perhaps it's the jingoistic release which was needed after such a downbeat portrayal of combat.

However, an opening sequence which shows Luttrell being choppered off should have been jettisoned; most will be unaware of the circumstances of this mission and a little uncertainty would have made the ride even more edge of your seat kind of cinema. Instead, that spoiler robs the movie of the tension it could have benefited from.

Overall, Lone Survivor represents a truly grim war time experience, but a chance to see a side of combat rarely glimpsed on the big screen. A final montage of the actual troops who were involved in the mission is nothing more than an attempt to be mawkish manipulation and while it's powerful stuff, it's more likely to resonate with those still in the armed forces and those in awe of the courage of others.


Newstalk ZB Movie Review - All is Lost, Dallas Buyers Club and Inside Llewyn Davis

Newstalk ZB Movie Review - All is Lost, Dallas Buyers Club and Inside Llewyn Davis

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Cuban Fury: Movie Review

Cuban Fury: Movie Review

Cast: Nick Frost, Chris O'Dowd, Olivia Colman, Rashida Jones, Ian McShane, Rory Kinnear, Kayvan Novak
Director: James Griffiths

Loveable doltish Nick Frost returns to the screen with this comedy set in the world of salsa dancing.

Frost plays Bruce Garrett, a former salsa dance prodigy, who, along with his sister, was about to take the world by storm, one dance stage at a time. But bullies put paid to his plans for salsa domination, ending this apparently "unstoppable salsa machine" before its time.

However, years later, and working as an engineer in a lathe company - prone to awful jokes like Better lathe than never - Bruce bumps into new American boss Julia (Rashida Jones). Literally. Dumbfounded by the first encounter, he believes she's out of his league but is determined to get close to her by re-discovering his dancing, a passion they both share.

But Bruce faces stiff competition from office colleague Drew (Bridesmaids star Chris O'Dowd), the crass boorish alpha male, who's determined to get to Julia first....

Cuban Fury is a film that could have done with a little more edge and originality.

Granted, Nick Frost lifts the whole thing with his usual display of funny facials and being thrown into situations that you'd never have imagined him in. He's also got some real talents on the dance floor as the everyman lovable schlub busts some moves. (and he does all his own dancing apart from one segment). He has a likeability that plays all through the film and to his strengths, but he's let down by a slightly generic script that hints at moments of more but never quite fully delivers.

Some of his fellow casr suffer a similar fate with Ian McShane being wasted as a former mentor and trainer - and even Rashida Jones never quite gets enough to work with. Though, Kayvan Novak gets some of the biggest laughs as a flamboyant dancer, whose line in innuendo and OTT flourishes work nicely when the predictable script dances along its merry way.

Chris O'Dowd plays nicely against type as the sleazy guy who makes the offensive and sexually suggestible comments throughout, a preening cock of a man whose one mission in life is to needle Bruce and prove to be a thorn in his side. Though the scenes were the two of them have a dance-off in a car park at lunchtime to settle their rivalry proves to be the highlight of the movie.

In fact, this sequence itself is symptomatic of the main issue that confines Cuban Fury's intentions to the sin bin - the predictability and oh-so-familiar nature of its underdog story provide little surprises outside of watching Frost twirl and pirhouette. While that's enough charisma to help the film get by, it relegates Cuban Fury's strength to more Cuban Bluster, making it a solidly average outing rather than an essential rom com.


Saturday, 22 February 2014

Her: Movie Review

Her: Movie Review

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Olivia Wilde
Director: Spike Jonze

Cinematic wunderkind Spike Jonze returns with a world that doesn't seem so far away.

Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, a lonely writer who works in a letter writing company. His days are spent helping others connect with their partners, friends and relatives and helping them express emotions that they cannot. Ironically, he's a little repressed, with the final stages of his divorce coming through and he spends his time briefly with friends, at work or playing a virtual video game in his front room.

Melancholy and maudlin, Theodore decides to buy a new artificial operating system, the OS1 to help him get through life. However, once the machine's switched on, it starts to take on a life of its own as it grows and evolves with Theo's interactions. Known as Samantha (and voiced with dusky sultriness by Scarlett Johansson), Theo starts to fall in love...

Her is an incredibly timely piece of cinema, blessed with a great story and intriguing premise.

We already live in a world where technology is running rampant and taking over our lives, so why shouldn't the next step be to fall for a virtual other half? But where Jonze succeeds with this, is that he makes the idea of love and loss seem so plausible and viable - Theodore inhabits a world which embraces retro fashion (with trousers hoisted up around the chest) but can't connect with anyone.

Joaquin Phoenix delivers a multi-layered performance that's heartbreaking, recognisable to anyone who's suffered a romantic loss and which is incredibly joyous. It's a logical conclusion that Ted falls for Samantha and Phoenix really sells the relationship, making us believe totally that this is a man who can no longer connect with human beings for fear of rejection (a divorce from Rooney Mara's character, a failed date with a desperate woman played by Olivia Wilde); he seeks solace in the technology of the world around him as that won't damage him. He even intones at one point "Sometimes I feel I've felt everything I've already ever felt", implying that he's become so distanced from life that the existential is the only way forward.

Credit also has to go to Scarlett Johansson, whose disembodied voice supplies every emotion and nuance needed. She's rightly won awards for this performance and her narration and delivery of lines is pitch perfect. Equally, Jonze needs credit for the Oscar nominated screenplay - while it collects together a story of love and loss, it never loses sight of humour in the technology - from the abuse given to Theodore by the video game he plays to a sex line encounter, there's plenty of humour among the pathos and heart of the piece.

Compassionate, plausible and shrewd, Her is a marvellous piece of cinema - while there is a slight lag in proceedings at one point, it's the only low in a journey that's packed full of highs and which presents a not-too distant future that's both recognisable and emotionally frightening.


Friday, 21 February 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy poster drops

Guardians of the Galaxy poster is here

Good news for Marvel fans - it's your first look at the Guardians of the Galaxy poster!

It follows the launch of the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer earlier this week.

The movie trailer for #GOTG Guardians of The Galaxy is the first full look from Marvel following the Collector's appearance at the end of Thor: The Dark World.

An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe.

To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits - Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand - with the galaxy's fate in the balance.

Guardians of the Galaxy is due in August this year.

Call Of Duty ®: Ghosts Customization Items Trailer is here

Call Of Duty ®: Ghosts Customization Items Trailer is here

There's some news this morning for fans of Call of Duty.

The Call Of Duty ®: Ghosts Customization Items Trailer has dropped!

New customization options now available for Call of Duty: Ghosts.

·         Personalization Packs: Fight in style with the Ducky, Space Cats, Inferno and Circuit Personalization Packs. 
·         Special Characters: Intimidate your enemies as one of the Ghosts. Choose from Keegan, Merrick, Hesh and Elias.
·         Captain Price Legend Pack: Become one of the most legendary Call of Duty heroes of all time with the Capt. Price Special Character and themed Personalization Pack.
·         Extra Slots Pack: Increase the number of Create-a-Soldier loadout slots from 6 to 10 for each character.



TRANSFORMERS™: RISE OF THE DARK SPARK™ will be released on Xbox One, Sony’s PlayStation®4, Xbox 360, PlayStation®3, Nintendo’s Wii U™ and the Nintendo 3DS™ as well as Windows PC.


Auckland, New Zealand - February 21, 2014 – Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI), and Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) today announced TRANSFORMERS™: RISE OF THE DARK SPARK™, a video game compliment to Paramount Pictures’ upcoming film,TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION, set to release this June. This third-person action adventure video game goes beyond the movie by uniting the universe of director Michael Bay’s TRANSFORMERS movies with the ever-popular Cybertron universe. Players will choose from over 40 playable characters from the two different universes as they battle to secure the Dark Spark.

TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE DARK SPARK will be releasing on Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, Sony’s PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Nintendo’s Wii U™ system and the Nintendo 3DS™ handheld system and Windows PC.

TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE DARK SPARK is an arc between the Cybertron and Earth based worlds of this popular franchise,” remarked Mark Blecher, SVP Digital Gaming & Corporate Development at Hasbro, Inc. “This year marks 30 incredible years of TRANSFORMERS.  This game tells another chapter in the TRANSFORMERS story that all fans will love.”

Serving as a follow-up to both the upcoming TRANSFORMERS live-action film and Activision’s TRANSFORMERS: WAR FOR CYBERTRON and TRANSFORMERS: FALL OF CYBERTRON titles, TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE DARK SPARK jumps worlds and factions as it weaves the tale of the hunt for an ancient relic as powerful as the Matrix of Leadership – the Dark Spark. Players will be able to switch between the heroes of the noble AUTOBOTS and the nefarious DECEPTICONS throughout the single-player campaign. Similar to High Moon Studios’ CYBERTRON entries in the highly regarded series, gameplay features nimble, fast-paced running-and-gunning combat paired with traversal and vehicle action across open battlefields for large-scale, dynamic conflicts.

Players will also see the return of the fan-favourite multiplayer mode, Escalation, which delivers wave-based, survival-style gameplay for up to four players online co-operatively. It features new, upgradeable defence systems, recognisable adversaries from the lore, and an expanded roster of playable characters from past and present. Additionally, an exciting new levelling system transforms single-player and multiplayer into one unified, persistent character development path. Experience earned in any part of the game unlocks potent awards and tactical load-out choices – including new characters, stronger weapons, special abilities and consumable bonuses – for use throughout the entire game.

TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE DARK SPARK is currently rated “CTC” (Rating Pending). Be sure to check out the latest information on the game

About Hasbro, Inc.
Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) is a branded play company dedicated to fulfilling the fundamental need for play for children and families through the creative expression of the Company’s world class brand portfolio, including TRANSFORMERS, MONOPOLY, PLAY-DOH, MY LITTLE PONY, MAGIC: THE GATHERING, NERF and LITTLEST PET SHOP. 

From toys and games, to television programming, motion pictures, digital gaming and a comprehensive licensing program, Hasbro strives to delight its global customers with innovative play and entertainment experiences, in a variety of forms and formats, anytime and anywhere. The Company's Hasbro Studios develops and produces television programming for more than 180 markets around the world, and for the U.S. on Hub Network, part of a multi-platform joint venture between Hasbro and Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK).

Through the Company's deep commitment to corporate social responsibility, including philanthropy, Hasbro is helping to build a safe and sustainable world for future generations and to positively impact the lives of millions of children and families every year. It has been recognized for its efforts by being named one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies" and is ranked as one of Corporate Responsibility Magazine's "100 Best Corporate Citizens." Learn more at© 2014 Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Introducing the Xbox One Media Remote

The XBox One Media Remote is here

Xbox One owners will now be able to take total control of their TV and entertainment thanks to one simple device – The Xbox One Media Remote.

Set to hit New Zealand shores in early March, the Xbox One Media remote is designed to help you listen, watch and switch among experiences. One device will now control your Blu-ray, streaming video, apps, TV power and volume. With a soft silicone finish, the remote also has motion-activated backlit buttons which illuminate in the palm of your hand – ideal if you love watching movies in the dark!

The Xbox One Media Remote will retail in New Zealand for $34.95.

The Family: Blu Ray Review

The Family: Blu Ray Review

Rating: M
Released by Roadshow Home Entertainment

The mobster genre gets another shot with this dark dramedy, The FamilyA bearded, greying Robert De Niro is Mob Boss, Giovanni Manzoni, a notorious mafioso who, along with his family has been forced into the witness protection programme after snitching on the powers that be within the family. But, despite being undercover, Giovanni, his wife Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer), daughter Belle (Glee's Dianna Agron) and son Warren (D'Leo), are constantly having to move from one home to the next.

This time, the family find themselves relocated to Normandy, along with grizzled handler Robert Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones) in another attempt to settle in to a life undercover. However, Giovanni is having trouble staying within the confines of their house and decides to reinvent himself as a writer and that he will write his memoirs.

But Giovanni's unable to control his sadistic violent streak and finds his patience stretched by the French attitude to life; meanwhile, the rest of his family are trying to settle into the humdrum life - Belle's obsessed with her older Maths tutor, Maggie's bored with the snobby French attitudes and Warren's running a series of rackets within school because that's all he knows.

Thanks to one minor slip (and major coincidence) the Mob discovers where the Manzonis are hiding....

The Family is an odd mess of a film.

The mafia fish out of water plots are pitched as comedy initially, and seem to play heavily on the fact that De Niro's spent most of his life playing something to do with the mob. But there are scant laughs along the way that it makes it difficult to latch onto what exactly Besson is pitching for - sure, there are some smart, sly digs at the stereotypes of the French and the American ways of life and sensibilities that just hit the mark but they are largely sidelined after the opening 20 minutes.

Robert De Niro though, shows some real life in his acting, which has not been seen for years - and the meta moment when his character is invited to the local film club and ends up watching Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas suggest the film which has been struggling for a direction is about to go somewhere original. But it doesn't - it settles in for playing out all the cliches and offering no twists in its slightly overlong plot. It all results in a Besson style gun fight at the end and adds to the overall unbalanced feeling of the film.

All in all, The Family aims for dysfunctionally dark and doesn't quite go far enough; likewise, with its subtle comedy and commentary, it's guilty of holding back rather than fully going for it. Which means all in all that the tonally inconsistent mafia film The Family just needs to fuhgeddaboudit.

Extras: Making of, The many meanings of f**K


Thursday, 20 February 2014

Wolfenstein: The New Order release date released

Wolfenstein: The New Order release date released

Wolfenstein: The New Order, the first-person action-adventure shooter, will be available in Australia and New Zealand on May 22, 2014. 

As an added bonus, everyone pre-ordering the game will be invited to access the DOOM beta with their copy of Wolfenstein: The New Order. For more information on the DOOM beta access pre-order bonus, as well as applicable terms and restrictions, please visit:

Currently under development at MachineGames, Wolfenstein: The New Order reignites the franchise widely recognized for pioneering the first-person shooter genre. Set in the 1960s, the monstrous Nazi regime has used mysterious advanced technology to win World War II. They now rule the globe with an iron fist. WolfensteinThe New Order sends you across Europe on a harrowing mission to bring down the Nazi war machine.

Wolfenstein: The New Order is slated for release on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. For more information on the game visit:

Don Jon: Blu Ray Review

Don Jon: Blu Ray Review

Rating: M
Released by Roadshow Home Entertainment

Joseph Gordon-Levitt writes and directs this piece about New Jersey guy Jon, a modern day Don Juan, who has an addiction to internet porn.He's a serial objectifier, always talking about women in clubs with ratings - from a 1 to the perfect dime (a 10); he loves his car, his boys and his home. But the addiction to porn has left him unable to form a relationship with anyone other than one night stands, because the sex is not as good as he believes the porn to be.

However, this cocksure attitude takes a bit of a knock when he meets the "dime" Barbara Sugarman (a voluptuous Scarlett Johansson) in a club. When she fails to fall for his schtick and one night stand hopes, he ends up pursuing her, believing her to be the one. Their relationship blossoms - but not without pitfalls.

Sugarman's addicted to romantic comedies (as portrayed with good humour by Channing Tatum, Anne Hathaway, Cuba Gooding Jr and Meagan Good) and the ideal of the perfect man, which means she tries to start to change him. And things get worse when Sugarman finds Jon using internet porn after their first night together...

Don Jon is a gratifyingly assured directorial debut from  Joseph Gordon-Levitt; its frenetic opening and statements on the objectification of women in life and the media today (fromPhoebe Cates' iconic red bikini to the jiggling women of the Benny Benassi video, through to the antics of porn stars on screen) sets out the stall right away. With his dead eyes, slicked back hair and stoic dedication to serial masturbation, Joseph Gordon-Levitt fully commits to the role of the man addicted to the sound of the computer being turned on (in more ways than one).

The start of the film is extremely confident, as Jon and Barbara begin their relationship in amid the frustrated lust and humour of taking a girl to meet the parents (Who's The Boss' Tony Danza is the perfect dolt of a New Jersey father) and Gordon-Levitt's got a wry take on the Catholic church randomly dishing out Hail Marys at confessions, but mid way through the piece, it starts to falter a little, leaving it with the feeling of being two movies spliced quickly together as one.

The second half concentrates on Jon's relationship with Esther (played by Julianne Moore) that he meets at night classes and it's full of moments which feel forced and unnatural because there's been no time to build up and invest in the characters. Esther finds Jon watching porn on his mobile after Sugarman's ban - and the next time she sees him, she gives him a porn DVD; it just feels rushed and unreal in the world that  Joseph Gordon-Levitt has already created. It's a shame because the tonal shift is quite jarring and doesn't quite gel.

Sure, Don Jon is a stylish and impressive piece, but it falters in its overall mission. But as a mission statement for writer/ director Joseph Gordon-Levitt, it's a great start - and shows this guy is clearly on the up.

Extras: Short film, making of, Joe's hats


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy trailer is here

Guardians of the Galaxy trailer is here

Good news for Marvel fans - it's your first look at the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer!

The movie trailer for #GOTG Guardians of The Galaxy is the first full look from Marvel following the Collector's appearance at the end of Thor: The Dark World.

An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe.

To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits - Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand - with the galaxy's fate in the balance.

Guardians of the Galaxy is due in August this year.

Rayman Legends gets Next Gen release

Rayman Legends gets Next Gen release

Award-Winning Platformer from 2013 Launches on
Next-Gen Consoles in the US, Available February 20th in Australia and New Zealand

February 19, 2013 —Ubisoft has announced that Rayman Legends, the acclaimed platformer developed by Ubisoft Montpellier under the direction of Michel Ancel, is now available in the United States for PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and will hit Australian and New Zealand shelves on February 20, 2014.

To view the launch trailer click the image below
To download click HERE

Rayman Legends, launched in 2013 for Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3,  PS VITA and PC, was already one of the best rated games of 2013*, praised for its originality, its stunning graphics and its fresh tone. It’s now even better on next-gen with exclusive content and new features. With the upgraded capabilities of next-gen consoles, the award-winning visuals of Rayman Legends have been enhanced to show the gorgeous hand-drawn artwork and fluid animations in even sharper detail, while loading time between maps has been suppressed.

Each platform will have a set of exclusive playable characters to unlock in the Heroes Gallery. On Xbox One, there are two characters designed after the infamous villain from Far Cry 3, Ray Vaas and Far Glob, as well as Splinter Ray, inspired by Sam Fisher. PlayStation®4 players will have access to Assassin Ray, inspired by the hero Edward Kenway from Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag. Both platforms will also include a new VIP status and hero, Champion Ray, which will be granted to the most active and highest-ranked players in the Online Challenges, as well as to players who are actively involved in the Rayman Legends community.

Each console will also have a set of exclusive gameplay features. The Xbox One version will include 10 exclusive challenges to unlock new achievements. These challenges require you to perform specific actions during a limited amount of time and are associated with various aspects of the game, such as player skills, co-op play, Kung Foot, and more. The PlayStation®4 will allow use of the controller’s touchpad for actions such as scratching Lucky Tickets, as well as a new Camera Mode. In this mode, players use the touchpad to freeze the screen and zoom in and out of the picture. Focusing on the hand-drawn visuals and animated-nuisances created during development, camera mode allows you to share these treasured moments with the rest of the community. Rayman Legends on PlayStation®4 will also support Remote Play so you can continue playing from your PS Vita while the TV is turned off.

For more information on Rayman Legends, please visit:

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