Sunday, March 1, 2015

March 2015 Look-Ahead

Wait, February is over?  Already?  That was strange, it only lasted four exact weeks.  Anyway, now that it is over, we have a new month, one that is called "March".  The Planet Blue court mystics and witchdoctors tell me that this month will see the end of winter, a day where night and day will be the same length, and a couple of weekends where most of the nation will be drunk to celebrate a foreign holy man who hated snakes.  There's also a rumor about the End of Days floating around here, but that's probably nothing.

For this blog's purposes, however, March will see new movies and video games!  So let's Look-Ahead as we always do.

"CHAPPiE" (March 6th) - Hey, a remake of "Short Circuit"!  ...You all know "Short Circuit" right?  ...It was a movie.  ...In the 80s.  ...There was a robot named Johnny 5 who came to life.  Whatever, you all need more culture, okay?  Anyway, "CHAPPiE" comes to us form Neill Blomkamp, the visionary who gave us "District 9" and the total hack that gave us "Oblivion" "Elysium".  It stars Blomkamp's favorite actor, Sharlto Cooper as Chappie, an emoticon-faced robot that comes to life and has to fight an angry Hugh Jackman.  Blomkamp is also obsessed with practical-looking greasy metal machines, and Chappie is obviously one of his creations.  This is a lot cuter than anything he has made before, so it is something of a gamble.
--Chances to be Good:  70%.  This is one of those movies where my honed swordsman instinct on movie quality has no real answer.  It could be brilliant, it could be "Oblivion".

"Unfinished Business" (March 6th) - I have no faith at all in Vince Vaughn at this stage in his career.  The more boozed-up washed-out middle aged failures he plays the less I am convinced this is an act, and the more he depresses me.  Luckily he is sharing the screen with a young Dave Franco, playing Mike Pancake, who actually seems to have some fun clueless energy.  Also there is a Tom Wilkinson for some reason.  The plot is that three businessmen must close a deal in Europe and everything goes wrong in the typical bawdy comedy way.
--Chances to be Good:  50%.  This actually does not look too bad.  Not really all that funny, but not that bad.  Nobody is screaming at least, so it is more tolerable than most comedy trailers.

"The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (March 6th) - Old British people stay at a hotel in India... AGAIN!  Guest starring Richard Gere.
--Chances to be Good:  Oh Whatever...  I'm not even going to pretend I care enough about this to give it a score.  It is just like a sitcom that you never watch on a channel you didn't even know existed.  This movie is not for me and not for anybody born before 1980.  I am probably the only person in my age cohort to even acknowledge that it exists.

This is Cinderella's self-titled easy listening spiritual music album, right?
"Cinderella" (March 13th) - You know a live action modern take on the Cinderella fairy tale has been done before?  Anybody remember "Ever After"?  It was a pretty decent Drew Barrymore movie, probably her career best performance.  ...She wore wings to the ball.  ...Leonardo da Vinci was basically the Fairy Godmother...  I'm getting nothing from you all, aren't I?  Anyway, nothing about this new Cinderella movie, which features Lily James trying to marry Robb Stark against the wishes of a very hammy Cate Blanchett gives me the impression that this particular live action Cinderella will have anything interesting to offer.
--Chances to be Good:  40%.  I don't get Disney.  Just a few months ago they were deconstructing this story with "Into the Woods", and now they're playing it completely straight?

"Run All Night" (March 13th) - And now something for the dudes!  Liam Neeson has a gun and has fists, and it is time again to use them.  Turns out Neeson's son is Joel "Boring RoboCop Star" Kinnaman who has gotten deep in the mob.  Now Neeson and his dull offspring must run all night.  Then they will discuss things out with the the bad guys in an amicable mutually-respectful way, treating each other like gentlemen.  Or just shoot them, that's a lot easier.
--Chances to be Good:  65%.  I know I'm supposed to be a sophisticated critic with all sorts of high-minded expectations of what movies should offer beyond Liam Neeson shooting people.  Even then, I know this is not going to be anywhere near as stylish or cool as "John Wick"*.  Even so, I'm just a sucker for Neeson hurting people, sorry.

"Kumiko The Treasure Hunter" (March 18th) - Alright here is my weird foreign/Indie pick for March.  "Kumiko the Treasure Hunter" is the story of a Japanese young woman who escapes her life of desperate loneliness by traveling to the US to find a hidden cache of money in North Dakota.  The only issue:  the treasure she is looking for is actually a plot point from the Coen Brothers film "Fargo" and she is probably more than a little bit out of her mind.
--Chances to be Good:  90%.  It is something different, it is a bizarre nihilist comedy homage to the masters of bizarre nihilist comedy, and my hipster cred needs boosting after I said that "Run All Night" looks like it will be fun.

The fault in our Shane Woodleys.
"The Divergent Series: Insurgent" (March 20th) - Okay, my bad on this one.  I decided last year that the first film in this series, "Divergent" was just another bland cookie-cutter YA fantasy series quite obviously ripped-off from "The Hunger Games".  So I assumed that if I skipped that movie I would be missing nothing, and it wouldn't matter.  Turns out:  no, I was wrong.  This is a series now.  Shane Woodley and her boring White boy lover will continue the fight against evil hammy Kate Blanchett Winslet.  Does this mean I have to watch the first movie and catch up, then see this?  Yes, it does.  Thanks, America, you voted with your money, an "Insurgent" review you will get.  And I hate this country now.
--Chances to be Good:  15%.  Jai Courtney has never been in a good movie.  But Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller are there now, and I happen to like both of them.  Since "The Fault in Our Stars" was a good movie*, I'll be shipping Woodley and Elgort in this film.  Bland lead man be damned.

"The Gunman" (March 20th) - And now something for the dudes!  Sean Penn is a man, has a gun, he is the Gunman.  Javier Bardem is charming, evil, and smirking, while Sean Penn looks like a pissy spinster nun with a goatee.  Guess who I am rooting for?  Also featuring Idris Elba for that smooth Black cool and Ray Winston with the Irish gravel, thus filling out every kind of masculine hyper fantasy.
--Chances to be Good:  65%.  Between this and "Run All Night", March is going to be a great month to be an aging Academy actor with a gun.

"Get Hard" (March 27th) - My first instinct upon reading that this will be the 112th of Kevin Hart's 6,355 movies in 2015 was to just write one word "No." and then move on.  Then I watched the trailer and actually laughed.  GOD HELP ME, I LAUGHED.  I'VE BECOME EVERYTHING I'VE ALWAYS HATED.
--Chances to be Good:  75%.  I don't even know who I am anymore.

When an alien loves a prepubescent Black girl.
"Home" (March 27th) - Okay, this time I can just dismiss this movie outright:  No.
--Chances to be Good:  1%.  Couldn't even make it through the trailer.

Now for the VIDEO GAME PORTION of the show!!

"Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars" (March 5th, 3DS, WiiU) - Awww, yet another adorable Nintendo release.  Seriously, Space Monkeys, life without a WiiU just becomes more and more intolerable every passing minute.  This one is a puzzle game similar to "Lemmings", where you must lead little robot Mario universe character through a room by placing spring pads, moving the environment, and keeping their cute little robot bodies from being smashed by the cruel realities of this awful world we inhabit.  Keep them blissfully marching forward never knowing the terror and nightmares that they narrowly avoid every moment.
--Chances to be Good:  90%.  Someday somehow I am going to propose to Nintendo, I will be its bride.

"Atelier Shallie: Alchemist of the Dusk Sea" (March 10th, PS3) - It's JRPG: the Video Game!
--Chances to be Good:  20%.  Okay, Atelier fans, don't hate too fast.  But watching trailers for this game makes me finally realize how people who do not play JRPGs see the entire genre:  cookie-cutter plot, cliched obvious anime characters, opaque confusing crafting system.  All the same shit that's been done a million times before.  Okay, you can hate me.

Wait. A shooter on a handheld??
"Code Name S.T.E.A.M." (March 13th, 3DS) - In Japan this game is called "Lincoln vs Aliens".  The fact they changed it for localization just shows how little the Japanese actually understand of Western culture.  It is set in a fictional Steampunk London where Abraham Lincoln decided that instead of emancipating the slaves, he needed instead to fight aliens.  So he rounds up a team of operatives including Henry from "The Red Badge of Courage", the Cowardly Lion from Oz, Tom Sawyer, and Tiger Lily from Peter Pan, to go on a third-person shooter turn-based strategy mix adventure similar to "Valkyria Chronicles".
--Chances to be Good:  70%.  By far the most interesting and memetic 3DS game in development.

"Battlefield Hardline" (March 17th, PS3, PS4, 360, XBONE, Windows) - March's biggest release.  And I mean that in terms of movies and videos games and books and collectable novelty coins.  This game's economy will probably be larger than most African nations.  So Battlefield is EA's response to Activision's Call of Duty franchise, meaning typically it just does whatever CoD does.  In 2015 instead of following CoD into the Kevin Spacey future, this Battlefield game is set in a Los Angeles drug war between cops and criminals.  Which you would think would require low-level subtlety with careful planning, non-lethal rounds, and a focus on keeping casualties low similar to the SWAT series.  Nope, it's just stupid shooting and explosions as always.
--Chances to be Good:  40%.  First person shooters can be amazingly exciting and fun.  But I can't help but feel "Hardline" is in particularly poor taste considering the run of police brutality and mass shootings that have been in the news lately.  The whole soldier cop fantasy just does not jive well with me.  Terrorists, Nazis, sure, kill em all, literally have a blast.  American citizens?  Not so much.  (Sorry, Gamergaters, but I am reading some social context into this dumb vidya game.)

Damn, gaming got violent.
"Final Fantasy Type-0 HD" (March 17th, PS4, XBONE) - The lost Final Fantasy game is finally released!  "Type-0 HD", the make-over of the PSP video game that Square Enix thought we never would want is coming out to the next gen consoles so that everybody can experience the awesome gameplay, memorable characters, and fucking confusing as shit narrative for themselves, regardless of nationality.  (Assuming you speak European languages, the third world is as forgotten as ever when it comes to gaming.)  This is a full-on Final Fantasy action war game.  I would definitely give this a try.
--Chances to be Good:  100%.  I've played this game, I liked it.  It had issues though, and this remake will probably not fix most of them - aside from the awful camera controls.  Give my review a read.

"Mario Party 10" (March 20th, WiiU) - I'm not really much of a party guy, so I don't play much Mario Party.  I do know everything in the universe though and I know that "Mario Party 9" completely ruined the series already famed board game friendship-destroying formula.  What little Mario Party I've played shows me that "Mario Party 10" will continue on that wrong path, keeping up the idiotic four people in a car system.  Something similar to the old boards are there, but it's matched to the Amiibo toys, so you can't get it from just the vanilla games
--Chances to be Good:  60%.  Still the minigames are there, it will be fun.  And if you're looking for a reason to end a friendship or get a divorce, this is your game.

"Bloodborne" (March 24th, PS4) - "Bloodborne" is the spiritual successor to "Demon's Souls" and the "Dark Souls" games, and is also directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki.  Unlike those three games, "Bloodborne" has a shotgun.  Otherwise it is the same demanding action gameplay you've come to know, only this time set in a new location with a new gothic storyline full of evil monsters to slay.  You're in a city full of cursed mutating humans and monsters and have to kill a lot of them.  Or else you'll be killed yourself.
--Chances to be Good:  80%.  Looks fine to me.  I actually think the combat in this game is more interesting and involving than the shield and counter stuff in the Souls series.  My main issue is how friggin' unrelentingly dark this game is.  You'll have to redesign your entire living room to remove all sources of glare from your TV or else the game is just unplayable.

So that's your March.  If you have any problems with it, wait thirty-one days and it will be April.

* I never reviewed that but it rocks.

** Also didn't review that, didn't quite rock, but it was touching and memorable.


  1. Home just looked so juvenile, like something Dreamworks would make alongside Shark Tale, with all the same doldrums.

  2. I think you made a mistake: the guy who made "District 9" was not involved with Oblivion.

    He made Elysium.

    1. Ah, good call. I got the two disposable 2013 SciFi action junk movies mixed up. They were both equally offensively meaningless, so I put them in the same category of awful in my brain. Fixing now.

  3. I saw "Divergent", and thought it was alright. Although, my positive feelings are probably derived primarily from one short scene:

    (Protagonist is interrogating Bad Guy at gunpoint)

    Bad Guy: Come on, you're not going to shoot me.

    Protagonist: Why does everyone keep saying that? (Shoots him)