Wednesday, November 30, 2011

‘Simpsons’ writer from Bristol pens play about CT

It’s been a long, creative journey for Bristol Eastern High School graduate Mike Reiss, who’s a Peabody Award winner and four-time Emmy award-winning writer.
He’s been writing for “The Simpsons” for more than two decades and now is returning to his Connecticut roots in a new play he wrote, “I’m Connecticut.”
Reiss expressed pride in the Nutmeg State and particularly his hometown in a recent interview.
“I love Bristol,” Reiss said.

He attended Memorial Boulevard Public School, Thomas Patterson School and then Bristol Eastern.

After he graduated from high school in 1977, Reiss’ family moved to Arizona and he later attended Harvard University. Yet he admitted that he holds a greater appreciation for his high school days.
“I went to Harvard but did not like it as much as Bristol Eastern,” he said.
He explained that a random conversation years later gave root to “I’m Connecticut.”
“The idea was pitched to me at UConn. A guy said I should write a play about Connecticut. I laughed it off then, but the idea stuck,” he said.
Reiss finally sat down and wrote the play and made it about a 30-something Connecticut native now living in New York trying to come to terms with an apparent lack of personality that he attributes to his upbringing in Simsbury.
The production has attracted an impressive cast.
Joyce DeWitt, best known for her role in the sitcom “Three’s Company,” plays Polly; Tony Award-winning actor Jerry Adler, who you might know from “The Sopranos,” plays grandpa; and Harris Doran, who comes from New York theater, plays Marc.
“I’m delighted with the cast. I thought it was going to be a little college production, where students play adults, but they got a bunch of professional actors, which is way beyond anything I conceived,” Reiss said.
Once the play opens at UConn Friday, Reiss will return to his adopted home of Los Angeles and continue to work on “The Simpsons.”
“I’ve been working on ‘The Simpsons’ for 23 years. The hardest thing about doing the show now is finding something someone hasn’t written about yet,” he said.
Reiss and his writing partner, Al Jean, were the first two hired to write for the show back in 1989. Before that they wrote for National Lampoon magazine and shows like “Alf,” “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” and “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.”
He mentioned that “The Simpsons” is coming back for at least two more years and that another Simpsons movie is likely.
“I think we’ll do another movie someday,” he said.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Interview With Jonathan Edwards

For 40 years, Jonathan Edwards has been eating highway and bringing quality folk music to the masses. This Saturday he will be performing at Terryville High School, sharing his new and older songs.

Many know Edwards from his hit song Sunshine, but his library is vast and his songs have deep and powerful meanings.

His musical journey started 40 years ago, when he picked up his neighbors guitar and instantly fell in love with it. He immediately started to write songs and forge a career that would last for decades, a career that now leads him to Terryville.

“I’m Looking forward to it (the show), it’s going to be great,” said Edwards.

Edwards has a very specific style, a style he melded together by listening to different types of music and artists when he was growing up.

“I grew up listening to R&B and Blue grass and popular folk music,” said Edwards. “I listened to Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, The Beatles and The Animals,” he added.

The show at Terryville High School will see Edwards performing many songs off his new album, ‘My Love Will Keep’, which is his first album in 14 years.

“I’ll be playing songs from the new album and some older songs. I will also open the floor for request,” said Edwards.

The new album has a total of 12 songs, Edwards favorite on the album is the first track called ‘Surrounded’. A song he wrote when he was living in Nova Scotia.

“I really like surrounded. It came out of one of those afternoons that you remember for the rest of your life,” said Edwards.

‘My Love Will Keep’ is a very gentle album and Edwards made it that way on purpose. He didn’t want to come back after 14 years and deliver something hard he wanted to come back and give us something gentle.

Yet, before all of this could have happened, Edwards had his hit Sunshine, which is a song he is very proud of and still likes performing.

“When I wrote sunshine I just narrowly survived a pre-draft physical. I was an angry young man, had a lot to say and I was disappointed in our leadership,” said Edwards.

He then sat on a bed and started to write this song with a folk sound, which ultimately became Sunshine. It was a late entry in his first album and it became the most popular.

Edwards will continue playing gigs throughout November, but is going to take December off. During his off time he’ll be writing and recording for a new album.

“I want to release a new album by the middle of 2012. I have some songs pent up,” said Edwards.

After four decades in a very solid career this new album tells us one thing, that Edwards still knows how to write and deliver true and intimate lyrics. He is still good at telling us a story and that’s what always seemed to work for him.

If you are interested in seeing Edwards, he will be taking the stage at Terryville High School at 7: 30 p.m., this Saturday. Terryville High School is located at 33 North Harwinton Ave., Terryville.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Batman: Arkham City Review

I finally had the chance to get into one of the highly anticipated games of the year and I’m glad I did, because Batman: Arkham City has become one of my favorite games of all-time.

I know I’m already gushing over this game, but I need to. For months I tried not to read too much news regarding the game, because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I didn’t want to go into with impossible expectations, but after playing it I realized my expectations could have been soaring and I would of still not have been let down.

The plot of the game brings in appearances from many of our favorite villains and also appearances from other characters that I won’t spoil. Yet, the whole story really centers on Hugo Strange’s Protocol 10. I won’t tell you what the protocol is but in order to stop it you’ll be facing off against Joker, Two-Face, Penguin and many more.

There is several things going on in the story, but I can’t tell you because then it will ruin it. I’ll just say it’s a very engaging Batman story.

Now, if you played the first game in the series, Batman: Arkham Asylum, you’ll be very familiar with the game mechanics. The game controls very similar to Arkham Asylum, but has made it more fluent. The combat is still very fun, detective mode is always helpful and gliding across rooftops is amazing.

All right I feel like I gushed enough, but the truth is there aren’t any major problems with the game. Yeah, sometimes when you’re gliding and try to grapple you don’t always get where you wanted to be, but that problem is small and doesn’t affect anything else.

Another thing I will nitpick is the Pay Your Respects achievement/trophy. I don’t know if this happened to anyone else but when I tried to get this achievement it took it a good 10 minutes for it to unlock. I know you might say that I did it wrong, but I didn’t. I did everything I was supposed to and it just took 10 minutes to unlock, that was a pain.

That’s really the only problems I have with the game. Some people might be turned off to the fact that the game doesn’t hold your hand. It expects you to be intelligent, figure stuff out on your own and I love that. Too many games nowadays hold your hand and when I was a kid no game held your hand, it would drop you off in a world and that was it, it was up to get to the end and Arkham City is very similar.

Besides from the main quest you have a bunch of side-quests to complete. Each side-quest has its own story and they’re all pretty good. One side quest that will keep you busy for a long time is the ‘Enigma Conundrum’. This side quest is the Riddler’s challenges. He has scattered riddles and trophies all over Arkham City (I think it’s about 400 trophies) and you have to collect them all. Yeah, it’s going to take awhile.

Another playable character for the main game is Catwoman. She is downloadable, I don’t know if you have to buy her or she comes with the game. She came with my game along with Robin. Yet, if you want to play as Catwoman than make sure you download her pack before you start the story, because then her parts will be intertwined with the main story.

The multiplayer for this game comes in the form of challenge maps, very much like Arkham Asylum’s. You try to take out guys quietly or with brute force and gain points and Riddler medals. In this mode you’ll be able to play as Batman, Catwoman or if you pre-ordered, Robin. All these characters are great, because they all fight differently and they don’t feel like carbon copies of one another.

If you’re disappointed that you missed out on getting Robin, don’t worry you’ll be able to buy his pack next month.

Arkham City is by far one of the best games this year. I really don’t think that any other game can come close to the enjoyment that I got out of this one.

10 out of 10

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Star Wars Blu-Ray Changes ...

I'm sure many of you know that the Star Wars saga is coming out on Blu-Ray this month. This is something all Star Wars fans should be excited about, but with the news of more changes and Greedo still shooting first fans are furious.

The first Change I want to talk about is the new Darth Vader kills the Emperor scene. This powerful moment where Vader decides to save his son by defeating the Emperor is now ruined.
In the original scene we see Vader quietly debating what he should do, but now he has dialog. Before he grabs the Emperor he says No and continues to say No as he throws him over into the center of the Death Star. The link to this clip is below, I wasn't able to embed it.

The next change is Obi-Wan's Krayt Dragon call form Episode IV. If you watched the original you know what the call use to sound like now it sounds like some drunk guy. Link below.

Those are the two changes that bothered me the most. The others aren't that bad.
The Phantom Menace now has a CGI Yoda rather than a puppet Yoda, which doesn't bother me and Greedo still shoots first, which I've learned to just deal with.

I don't know if Lucas knows that he doesn't need to change the films. We loved the films for what they were.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gagliardi impresses in MMA victory at Mohegan

Domenic Gagliardi stepped into the octagon Saturday night and gained a huge victory in his Mixed Martial Arts career.
The 28-year-old Bristol resident took on undefeated Stafford Springs native, Mark McLaughlin in the Mohegan Sun Arena.
The fight started with Gagliardi landing several punches and knees making his opponent stagger early.
“In the first few seconds I hit him with a huge over hand right, setting him back into the cage and was able to climb on top,” Gagliardi said. “I then threw a few short elbows to his head but he managed to get back to his feet.”
After McLaughlin recovery he was able to get Gagliardi’s back to the cage. McLaughlin tried taking him down, but Gagliardi knew just from his first attempt that he couldn’t.
“I figured I’d stay calm and let him burn energy trying,” Gagliardi said.
Gagliardi then caught McLaughlin with some hard knees to the ribs, which broke them apart. As they broke they both swung haymakers at each other and McLaughlin landed a left hook.
The crowd went wild for McLaughlin’s move, but it only infuriated Gagliardi and caused him to only want the victory more.
Gagliardi moved to the mount and faked a jab, landing heavy leather. McLaughlin worked a sub from half guard, but Gagliardi then got the back and performed the rear naked choke. That move gained Gagliardi the victory 4 minutes and 10 seconds into the first round.
“My opponent came out and I never took my eyes off of him,” Gagliardi said. “I was just going to start by feeling him out, but went there to fight and the crowd wanted to see a show,”
This was a welcome win, not only for Gagliardi but also for his corner men, William Seaver, Jake Pajor and John Roderick, who came up with a game plan that led to victory.
Yet, this fight was never suppose to happen for Gagliardi, because four months before he had hung up his gloves.
“I had no intention of fighting again,” Gagliardi said. “Being that I’m older and have a lot more responsibilities now, I had to think about it. But the opportunity to fight in my home state is what made me take the fight.”
Ten years ago Gagliardi had no idea where this sport would take him. He always knew that he might never make a living at it or be the best fighter, but he gave MMA his best shot.
“Ten years ago I had no idea about this sport and ten years from now I have no idea where I’ll be,” Gagliardi said. “I’ve always been one to live in the moment and concentrate on what’s in front of me.”

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bristol Native Set For MMA Fight

BRISTOL — For Domenic Gagliardi, his time to step into the Mixed Martial Arts spotlight has finally arrived.

Tonight, the 28-year-old Bristol native will travel to Uncasville and head into the octagon for the biggest fight of his MMA career. Gagliardi will take part in one of the 15 bouts during Reality Fighting’s A Night of MMA Fights at Mohegan Sun Arena.

It’s a night Gagliardi has dreamt of since he first stumbled upon the sport when he was going from gym to gym trying to find that one thing that would build on the passion for wrestling he gained while at Bristol Central High School.

After bouncing around, his search finally ended when he walked through the doors of a small gym in Plainville — New Century MMA. It was then he began to learn the sport from owner and trainer Jake Pajor.

“Jake, who was a professional kick boxer, began training me and showing me the basics of striking and boxing,” Gagliardi said.

It was just a year into their training when Pajor got tickets to a professional MMA fight at Mohegan Sun. It was at that moment while watching from the stands that Gagliardi fully realized he wanted to be the one in the ring, not in the crowd.

The next day he was back in the gym hungrier than ever to compete. Trying to feed that hunger, he placed a resume online stating he was a new fighter looking for a match. Two weeks later, Gagliardi, a 2001 graduate of Bristol Central, received a call from Richmond, Va. asking if he was interested in a fight.

“Right away I agreed to the fight and started training,” Gagliardi said. “After working 40-plus hours I had to put any last energy I had into training.”

Now, he hopes all the hard work over the years will lead him to victory on the biggest stage of his MMA career.

Gagliardi is set to do battle with undefeated Mark McLaughlin. The 170-pound McLaughlin has been impressive in his three professional fights. His last bout lasted just 2 minutes, 19 seconds as the referee stopped the contest, earning him the technical knockout victory over Joe Soucy.

McLaughlin’s other two fights went the distance, winning both by decision.

The Night of Fights at Mohegan Sun will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $35.

Although Gagliardi feels he is fully prepared to meet tonight’s challenge, he can’t help but admit there will be at least a small sense of anxiety as he heads to the ring. To him, that’s OK. If there weren’t, he said, he would feel there was something wrong.

“From my first fight to my last fight the feeling before you walk in to the cage has always been the same. Your mind is racing through a million different things, but the second the bell rings your only thought is what’s in front of you,” Gagliardi said. “You can never plan on an opponent, because usually what you’ve heard or read or even saw in his flaws, chances are he has been working on them in the gym.”

As a fighter, Gagliardi is certain that McLaughlin is also aware of his flaws. That’s why, he said, he’s worked harder than ever preparing for this fight.

While he has years of grappling experience, Gagliardi has recently turned his attention toward becoming a better striker. But most importantly he hasn’t forgot the No. 1 ingredient when it comes to the recipe for Mixed Martial Arts success.

“Cardio is one of the most important parts of MMA because no matter how good you are, if you’re tired, all that knowledge goes out the window,” Gagliardi said.

Win or lose tonight, Gagliardi will walk out of the octagon a happy man. He knows he will continue to have the support of all the people in his corner, especially his parents, who have always been behind him.

“My parents are my drive to do well in life, regardless of what I’m doing,” Gagliardi said. “Their struggles in life have made it possible for me to even be able to chase my goals and dreams by giving me the life they never had.”

Monday, May 16, 2011

New 'Fright Night' Trailer Hits The Web

I honestly don't think that Fright Night should have been remade. The original was perfect and what exactly are they looking to improve upon?
I'm done fighting against horror remakes or just remakes in general, it has become pointless because it's never going to stop. Yet, I don't think remakes are a bad thing all the time. I believe if you can take a movie that had an interesting idea but didn't execute it properly then you can remake it. This does NOT apply to Fright Night.
I'm not going to go crazy. The trailer didn't thrill me, but I'm not going to rip the movie apart. I need to see it in order to form an opinion on it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Star Wars Blu-Ray Sets

Since this is May 4th (Star Wars day), Lucasfilm has released the details on their upcoming blu-ray collections. There will be a complete saga collection, an original trilogy collection and a prequel trilogy collection.
Here is some the the special features the complete saga set will have:

Including: deleted, extended and alternate scenes; prop, maquette and costume turnarounds; matte paintings and concept art; supplementary interviews with cast and crew; a flythrough of the Lucasfilm Archives and more

Including: deleted, extended and alternate scenes; prop, maquette and costume turnarounds; matte paintings and concept art; supplementary interviews with cast and crew; and more

Star Warriors (2007, Color, Apx. 84 Minutes) - Some Star Wars fans want to collect action figures...these fans want to be action figures! A tribute to the 501st Legion, a global organization of Star Wars costume enthusiasts, this insightful documentary shows how the super-fan club promotes interest in the films through charity and volunteer work at fundraisers and high-profile special events around the world.

A Conversation with the Masters: The Empire Strikes Back 30 Years Later (2010, Color, Apx. 25 Minutes) - George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Lawrence Kasdan and John Williams look back on the making of The Empire Strikes Back in this in-depth retrospective from Lucasfilm created to help commemorate the 30th anniversary of the movie. The masters discuss and reminisce about one of the most beloved films of all time.

Star Wars Spoofs (2011, Color, Apx. 91 Minutes) - The farce is strong with this one! Enjoy a hilarious collection of Star Wars spoofs and parodies that have been created over the years, including outrageous clips from Family Guy, The Simpsons, How I Met Your Mother and more -- and don't miss "Weird Al" Yankovic's one-of-a-kind music video tribute to The Phantom Menace!

The Making of Star Wars (1977, Color, Apx. 49 Minutes) - Learn the incredible behind-the-scenes story of how the original Star Wars movie was brought to the big screen in this fascinating documentary hosted by C-3PO and R2-D2. Includes interviews with George Lucas and appearances by Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.

The Empire Strikes Back: SPFX (1980, Color, Apx. 48 Minutes) - Learn the secrets of making movies in a galaxy far, far away. Hosted by Mark Hamill, this revealing documentary offers behind-the-scenes glimpses into the amazing special effects that transformed George Lucas' vision for Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back into reality!

Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi (1983, Color, Apx. 48 Minutes) - Go behind the scenes -- and into the costumes -- as production footage from Return of the Jedi is interspersed with vintage monster movie clips in this in-depth exploration of the painstaking techniques utilized by George Lucas to create the classic creatures and characters seen in the film. Hosted and narrated by Carrie Fisher and Billie Dee Williams.

Anatomy of a Dewback (1997, Color, Apx. 26 Minutes) - See how some of the special effects in Star Wars became even more special two decades later! George Lucas explains and demonstrates how his team transformed the original dewback creatures from immovable rubber puppets (in the original 1977 release) to seemingly living, breathing creatures for the Star Wars 1997 Special Edition update.

Star Wars Tech (2007, Color, Apx. 46 Minutes) - Exploring the technical aspects of Star Wars vehicles, weapons and gadgetry, Star Wars Tech consults leading scientists in the fields of physics, prosthetics, lasers, engineering and astronomy to examine the plausibility of Star Wars technology based on science as we know it today.

Yet, these sets have been met with intense negativity. Fans, including myself, are demanding that Lucas releases the original theatrical releases of episodes IV, V and VI. They could have been easily placed with the set but there nowhere to be found.
Many fans are saying that they will boycott the sets until they get the original releases. Come on, Lucas, give the fans what they want.

The Confessional

Here is a short film I was sent. It's interesting and it has zombies.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mortal Kombat Is Reborn

Fatality lives in this reboot of the classic fighting series – Mortal Kombat.

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a decent Mortal Kombat game. The first three in the series were very good but once we reached Mortal Kombat 4 the series started going downhill. Now, with this reboot we are given back a useful d-pad, characters we loved and the bloody fatalities that made the game different. Yet, does returning to the series roots save the franchise?

Let’s just get into the review, starting with the actually fighting. The game brings back 2D gameplay while sticking with 3D graphics, just like Street Fighter 4 did. This helps the game out tremendously. If you played any of the 3D Mortal Kombat games then you know it didn’t really feel as fluent as the 2D games did. I hated how you needed to side-step in the 3D environments, it might have just been me but side-stepping was annoying.

The fighting is very, very similar to older Mortal Kombat games. If you’ve played any Mortal Kombat game in the past you’ll feel right at home with this one. You’ll find it very easy to pull off special attacks and dominate with your favorite fighters.

They’ve also brought back the fatalities and babalities, which are always welcome. The fatalities return to their graphic roots, delivering some extreme gore and the babalities return to turning your opponent into a baby, not as exciting as the fatalities.

They’ve also introduced the X-Ray move, which is great. This move can be performed when you fill up your X-Ray meter (I don’t know if that’s the proper name) and it shows you breaking your opponent’s bones in gruesome ways.

Moving on, let’s talk about the Story Mode. This is a very lengthy part of the game; it spans 16 chapters and retells the stories of the first three Mortal Kombat games. The story might get campy in some areas but this is a great addition and allows new players to get to know the universe and the characters that inhabit it.

I do have some negative things to say about the story mode and the first thing is how some of the fights seem unbalanced. I’m talking about the fights where you’re going up against two opponents and you don’t have a partner to back you up. I thought, since they already had a tag team mode in the game, they should’ve used that in the Story Mode. I hated the fact they left this out and it would have been something so easy to have in.

The other thing I didn’t like about Story Mode is being unable to skip cut scenes, what the hell is up with that? I like watching cut scenes to follow the story, but if I play through the story a second time I want an option to skip over them.

Besides the Story Mode there is a wealth of other content to keep you busy. There is of course the tried and true Ladder, the new tag team Ladder, which allows you to play with two fighters against two other fighters, the challenge tower, which has 300 challenges for you to complete, test your might mode, test your sight mode, test your strike mode and test your luck, which is the most interesting.

In test your luck you have to spin a slot machine, which decides who you’ll be fighting against and how you will fight them. You might be fighting them with the screen upside down and with jump disabled or you might be fighting them without arms. It’s an interesting mode and poses some great challenges.

Now, let’s talk about the online, a part of the game I have some beef with. The biggest peeve I have with online is players who spam one attack and get a cheap victory over you. These people need to stop doing one attack and learn how to use a fighter or don’t play online at all.

The other thing that annoys me is lag. There have been matches where the lag was so bad that it wasn’t even playable. It doesn’t happen all the time but it happens often enough to make you not even want to continue to play online.

Now, when those two things aren’t dragging your online experience down, there is a lot to love about it.

One mode that I continuously play is King of the Hill. In this mode you go into a room and challenge the king. The king is the person who won the last match or last several matches. The biggest plus about this mode is being able to be a spectator on all the matches, so you can try to build up some strategy when your turn comes around. You’re also able to rate the match when it’s finished.

Online also gives you just classic fighting and tag team; all the modes are good but like I said they can be dragged down by inexperienced players and lag.

There is a lot of content in Mortal Kombat and because it embraces its roots it’s definitely worth the $60. It does have its shortcomings, but those problems aren’t enough for me to say stay away.

8 out of 10

Friday, April 29, 2011

New Decade. New Rules.

The Scream series is back after ten years, but is it the film a Scream or a terrifying mess?

The film, once again, centers around Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), who has become a writer and has written about her experiences from Scream 1, 2 and 3. Sidney ends up back in Woodsboro, the home to the original murders, on her book tour, where she soon comes back into contact with now Sheriff Dewey Riley (David Arquette) and now struggling writer, Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox).

We are then soon introduced to Sidney’s cousin, Jill (Emma Roberts), and her aunt, Kate (Mary McDonnell), family she is staying with while she is in town. Everything seems to be great but the past soon comes back to haunt Sidney when Ghostface returns to wreak havoc on the town of Woodsboro.

That’s all I can give away. I’m not going to spoil the story.

Now, let’s get into the review. The first thing I want to talk about is the story. The Scream series has always given us very interesting meta stories. Maybe not so much Scream 3, but I thought Scream 1 and 2 were great. In Scream 4 they’re back using the same kind of formula and the question is does it hold up? I’m going to say yes.

In Scream 4 they found a very modern way to make this movie very similar to the original Screams. Instead of Ghostface trying to make his own scary movie, this Ghostface is out to reboot the original and forge a new franchise. It really does speak to the state horror films are in now and I found it very relevant.

The negatives about the story are that it’s not very scary and it sometimes gets a little too comical for its own good. It also has too many characters. I know they wanted death scenes but they could have really done without a few.

Speaking of death scenes, most of the ones in the movie are very gory and then there are others that are PG-13 at best. I know it’s weird to be complaining about something like this but hear me out. (POSSIBLE SPOILER) There is a specific death scene in the movie that has a lot of build up and it feels like your watching it forever and then Ghostface strikes with a just a stab. I thought to myself “That’s it?” After all the build up the scene ends terribly.

That brings me to my other complaint about the movie and that is lack of tension. Tension has been missing from a lot of horror movies now a days and has been replaced by cheap scares. You NEED tension in horror films and the lack of it caused Scream 4 to not be very scary.

Let’s get over the negative and talk about more positive things. Wes Craven is still able to make Scream fun and interesting. The film is entertaining and it is a solid entry in the Scream series. I liked how he was able to get the original cast back, because they bring the history of the series with them and make it worth your time.

The biggest positive is how the movie is able to play on ‘90’s nostalgia, which was weird for me. Are the ‘90’s really nostalgic now? I feel old.

Summing it up, after I watched Scream 4 my initial reaction was it wasn’t the epic return I hoped for. Yet, I did still enjoy it. I thought it was funny, the story was well told and it was a good slasher film. It is something I would recommend.


With the review out of the way I want to talk about some random things about the movie. First, why in the hell are people still running away from Ghostface? Haven’t people learned that the Ghostface mask has limited visibility? Come on I know everyone has tried one on by now, they’re all over Halloween stores in October. I’m surprised Ghostface isn’t running into more walls. Just find somewhere to hide and stop screaming.

Second, if Ghostface is knocked down start kicking him or do something! You have to stop running away and turning your back on him because if you do that he disappears. Come on Sidney you lived through three other movies and your still not aware of this yet?

Third, stop assuming that every phone call you get from Ghostface is a prank call, especially if you’re living in Woodsboro, the place of the original murders! Because, it’s not a prank call it’s a psychotic with a knife. If you do get a phone call from Ghostface, use that as a heads up, call the cops, find something to protect yourself with and find a hiding place. With Ghostface’s limited visibility I’m 100 percent sure you would get the jump on him, because you’re not wearing a crazy costume.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Interview With Actor John Ruby

Here is an interview with Touch star - John Ruby.

John plays Tam's (Porter Lynn) new customer, Brendan. Brendan is a shy guy who is looking to clean the oil stains off of his hands, something he hopes will fix his strained relationship with his wife.

Q: You have some impressive credits (You, Me, and Dupree, The Event, Cougar Town), but how do those experiences compare to your experience on Touch?

A: For me, each job I get to work on is unique. 'You, Me and Dupree' was my first studio picture. 'The Event' and 'Cougar Town' were two of my very first network television shows. But 'Touch' holds a special place in my heart because it was my first lead role in a feature film. What I loved the most about working on 'Touch' was heading to set everyday and working with such an amazingly talented cast and crew. The whole process was a dream come true. And I am eternally grateful to Minh for giving me the opportunity to do that.

Q:How did you become involved with Touch?

A: I actually didn't have a theatrical agent at the time and found out about the audition through a website called Actors Access. It's a website where actors can submit themselves for projects. So that's what I did, I submitted myself. Once I got the audition, I worked like crazy on the sides and after three callbacks, Minh informed me I had booked the role. That was a great phone call.

Q: How was it to work with Minh Duc Nguyen?

A: Minh is amazing. Even from the first audition I could tell how much this project meant to him. His work ethic, commitment, openness, honesty have all been an inspiration to me.

On the set of 'Touch,' his passion was infectious. He helped create a professional, comfortable, collaborative work environment. That's all you can ask for as an actor.

Minh also has a very clear vision. He knows what he wants. But within that framework, he allows for a dialogue to occur between actor and director. And for me, this is so important in truly developing the character and finding the truth in the scene. I felt so blessed to be able to work with Minh on this project and hope to work with him on many more.

Q: What was it like to work with your Co-Star Porter Lynn?

A: Porter was just fabulous to work with. And I'm not just saying that because she laughed at all my jokes. She's a wonderful, talented actor. And so natural. I'm really impressed that this was her first feature film. During filming, she carried herself like a veteran actor. To me, this says so much about her skill and confidence as an actor. I really believe she's going to have a long career in acting. What an amazing experience it was for me, to be able to work with such a lovely, talented, beautiful actress.

Q: What are some of your favorite films?

A: I grew up watching comedies with my dad and grandfather, so those hold a special place in my heart. Movies like 'Duck Soup' (with the Marx Brothers), 'The Jerk' (with Steve Martin), and 'Vacation' (with Chevy Chase) still make me laugh.

But the movie that influenced me the most was 'A Streetcar Named Desire.' Elia Kazan is one of my favorite directors. He was really an amazing storyteller and he knew how to create an environment to bring the best out of actors. And the actors involved with 'Streetcar' were brilliant. Marlon Brando, Vivian Leigh, Kim Hunter, and Karl Malden were such amazing leads. And to me, Streetcar is Brando's best movie. He just dominates every scene he's in. It's a travesty he didn't win the Oscar that year for the role of 'Stanley Kowalski.'

Q: Who are your favorite actors/actress'?

A: In my mind, no one can touch Marlon Brando. He is by far, my favorite actor of all time. When I watch old films, I really believe there was acting before Brando, which was very presentational and 'showy.' And then there's acting after Brando got ahold of it, which is naturalistic, raw and real. He is the nonpareil. His naturalistic style, his strength, his compassion and caring, all of this came through when he was acting. No one else comes close.

Q: What projects are you currently working on?

A: I'm currently working on play called 'Conversation Storm' that will be going up in June at the El Centro Theater in Hollywood, CA. I'm also writing a feature film that I'm planning on shooting in Wisconsin next summer. You can also find updates at or on Facebook.

Q: What would be your dream role?

A: Oh, there's so many roles I'd love to play. I'm always interested in learning and trying new things and exploring different parts of myself. I think the main reason I got into acting is because I love how challenging it is. So any role that challenges me as a person and as an actor, I would love to try and tackle. I look at it as a continuous learning and growing process and that's what I truly love about acting. Before we wrap it up, I just want to say thank you so much to my parents, Jake and Gay Ruby. Without their love and support, I wouldn't be where I am today and I am so thankful to have them both.

Friday, April 22, 2011

An Independent Film That Finds Heart

In the independent film ‘Touch’, director Minh Duc Nguyen, teaches us how a single touch can have such an emotional impact. He also teaches us that you don’t need 3D glasses to make your characters and story three dimensional.

The film focuses on a Vietnamese manicurist named Tam (Porter Lynn). She works at V.I.P. nails and just obtained a new customer, Brendan (John Ruby). Brendan is a shy guy who is looking to clean the oil stains off of his hands, something he hopes will fix his strained relationship with his wife.

Brendan continues to go to the nail salon every day, where his relationship with Tam begins to grow. She soon starts offering him advice about how to fix his relationship. Her advice starts to work but Brendan and Tam start having feelings for each other.

I’m not going to give anymore away, because I don’t want to ruin it.

Let’s get into the review now. Starting with the performances, John Ruby does a great job in the role of Brendan. He is able to make his character believable, which makes us care about him and what he’s going through. Yet, it’s actress Porter Lynn who steals the show. This was Lynn’s first movie and I expect her to be in many more.

Lynn’ strongest point is how she is able to just sink into the role. She was very natural, which made her scenes with her father very strong and my favorite scenes in the movie. She also has the ability to say so much without saying anything. We can understand her character by just observing her behavior, which really impressed me.

One last performance I want to mention is that of Long Nguyen, he plays the father of Tam and gives such an explosive performance. Like I said above his scenes with Lynn were such amazing scenes and that was because the dialogue was solid, the actors seemed to really understand and feel what was going on and the direction was top notch.

Next is the story. Nguyen wrote the script himself and it contains a lot of heart, which seems to be missing from a lot of movies these days. He is able to create a world, fill it with his characters and makes us care what happens to them. I have nothing really negative to say about the script but if I did have to nit pick I would say that some of the minor characters could have had a little more time on screen.

Yet, there is no denying that Nguyen is a storyteller and a gifted director. I recently interviewed him and he revealed what he was working on next.

“I just finish writing the screenplay for my next film. It's a romantic horror...a new twist on the horror genre that I hope audiences will be moved and shocked by its story at the same time,” said Nguyen.

I’m excited for this, I love horror and I’m really interested in what Nguyen has in store for us next.

To sum everything up, Touch has powerful performances, it looks great, the directing is fluent and intuitive and the story is full of heart.

Touch will have its World Premiere at the Boston International Film Festival on Saturday, April 23, 8:15 p.m., at AMC/LOEWS Theatres, 175 Tremont St., Boston Common. You can get tickets here:

Go out and support the film.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Interview With Actress Porter Lynn

Yesterday, I posted an interview with the director of the upcoming film Touch. Today I have an interview with the star of the movie - Porter Lynn.
Lynn plays the Vietnamese manicurist named Tam.

Q: First question, tell me how you became involved with Touch?

A: I saw the posting for the movie and really wanted to be a part of a Vietnamese-American movie. It sounded like a beautiful story and I felt that I could really relate to the character so I submitted myself for the part. The casting director contacted my agent and from there I had an audition, a few nerve-wrecking callbacks and finally booked the role. I had actually sent out thank you cards a day before I received the call because I was almost positive I didn't get it, so it was an absolutely wonderful surprise.

Q: I heard this your first film, how was the experience?

A: Terrifying. Ha...terrifying but at the same time I felt like I was on cloud nine. I felt so happy and comfortable on set, I think I might have been the only person who didn't want to go home at the end of the day. It was truly a learning experience for me and I was sometimes unsure of my choices but I was lucky to be working with a cast and crew that never let me doubt myself. I felt very fortunate to be a part of this film and working with such a special group of people.

Q: How was it to work with Minh Duc Nguyen?

A: He was absolutely amazing to work with. So patient, understanding and creative. It was funny because he was probably the quietest person there, you would never know he was the director if you just stepped on set and yet he knew what he wanted and how to get it done. I felt very lucky that my first film was with Minh, he didn't really want us to see any of the dailies because I think he understood how over critical actors can be and wanted us to follow our instincts. I had no idea how it would turn out until I saw the first screening of the film with an audience. I was in complete awe with the finished product, he did so much more than any of us could have imagined.

Q: What do you think of your Co-star John Ruby?

A: I think that he thinks he is funnier than he actually is. I'm completely joking, that kid is hilarious. He was always cracking me up on set which kept things fresh and lively. It was a lot of fun to work with him. We had a couple intimate scenes together and I was a bit nervous but he handled them so professionally, it really allowed me to trust myself in those moments because I trusted him. He is a very talented guy and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to work with him.

Q: What kind of films do you want to be in in the future?

A: It sounds corny but this kind of film. I love independent film and the kind of story telling that they are able to bring to the audience. I feel that many of the films that are mainstream appeal to a wider audience and so some of the more delicate, non-traditional stories get lost in box office revenues. Of course when it comes down to it, I just love acting and would be happy to work as long as I'm able to. I also wouldn't mind playing a comic book character because I'm a comic book nerd and that would be awesome. And sci-fi...I love sci-fi.

Q: Who are your influences when it comes to acting?

A: I've always admired Natalie Portman since I first saw her in The Professional. I think she has made very strong choices in her career and I love her work, not to mention her Oscar-winning transformation in Black Swan. Another actor I truly admire is Ryan Gosling. His work in Half Nelson blew me away and the motel scene at the end of the movie (I'm sure anyone who's seen it knows which scene I'm talking about) absolutely breaks my heart every time I watch it...and he didn't even say a word. I want to be able to do that. I want to be able to tell a story like that and evoke real emotions from people. I'm also a big fan of old movies and absolutely adore Audrey Hepburn. She's so natural in everything that she does it's just beautiful to watch. I enjoy her films so much that I even dressed up as Holly Golightly for Halloween one year!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Interview With Director Minh Duc Nguyen

Recently I was given a screener for a movie called 'Touch'. I will be reviewing the movie this week but first here is an interview with the film's director - Minh Duc Nguyen.
The official synopsis for the film follows: At V.I.P. Nails, a Vietnamese manicurist named Tam has a new customer: Brendan, a shy mechanic who literally has a problem on his hands. He can never get rid of the oil stains around his nails, and when he tries to be intimate with his aloof wife, she always rejects him with the same excuse: “Your hands are filthy!” Desperately seeking to save his marriage, Brendan goes to the nail salon every day, where Tam does more than scrub his hands clean. She also offers him advice on how to get his wife to love him again. But soon, Tam and Brendan find themselves drawn to each other, an attraction which becomes harder and harder to resist.

Q: Where did you get the idea for Touch?

A: Every Vietnamese in America knows someone who works in a nail salon. Over half of the nail salons in America are owned and operated by Vietnamese. The nail salon industry has provided countless job opportunities for Vietnamese immigrants, but their stories have never been told on-screen. For the first time, we have a movie about the hidden life of Vietnamese women working in a typical nail salon, told from their point-of-views. I saw the nail salon as a perfect setting to tell a multicultural story, where the Vietnamese workers interact daily with their American customers that come from all walks of life.

The one thing that really fascinates me about manicurists is that they have to touch strangers' hands every single day and touching someone's hand is usually considered an intimate act in our society. My goal was to make a sensual film that explored the power of touch and its emotional impact on desire, pleasure and healing. I also wanted to touch on universal themes such as love and loss. The bond between two strangers, husband and wife, parents and child are examined. These are the things that all of us can relate to.

Q: This was your feature directorial debut, how does that feel?

A: It feels wonderful. After I graduated from USC Film School, for a long time I couldn't find anyone to finance my movie. It was just too expensive to make a movie ten years ago. Finally with the advance in digital video, I'm able to make my first film on a shoestring budget. I've waited a long time for this moment and there were times I thought it might not happen. But I'm really glad that it did.

Q: I thought that Porter Lynn gave a very strong performance, what was it like to work with her?

A: There were many memorial experiences in making this film, but if I had to choose one, it would be discovering Porter Lynn during the audition process. Touch is her first feature film and lead role. It was a joy working with Porter. She always came to the set highly prepared and she enjoyed every moment on the set. She told me she was really depressed on her days off. She just loves to act. I think she will pleasantly surprise audiences with her mature poise and unassuming strength in portraying Tam.

Q: How does it feel to have a film premiering at the Boston International Film Festival?

A: It feels great but also nerve-wracking to have my film premiering at the Boston International Film Festival. It's great because Boston is a lovely city and the audiences at BIFF are known to be very adventurous. That's why the lineup at BIFF is incredibly diverse, showing films not just from all over America but also from all over the world. Yet it's going to be tense for me because for the first time, I'm showing my film in front of a large audience. I hope I won't pass out.

Q: What kind of projects do you want to work on in the future?

A: I want to continue making personal films in my own style. I've learned so much from directing Touch, not just from what I did right but also from what I did wrong. I can't wait to apply those lessons on my next movie and hopefully become a better director.

Q: Are you working on anything currently?

A: I just finish writing the screenplay for my next film. It's a romantic horror...a new twist on the horror genre that I hope audiences will be moved and shocked by its story at the same time.

Q: What are some things you’ve worked on in the past?

A: I've made short films. I've written short stories. Some of them are published in journals and anthologies. For the past several years, I've also worked as an editor for a variety of television shows that have aired on MTV, ABC, NBC, Bravo, Lifetime, USA, Spike and more.

Q: Who are your influences when it comes to writers and why?

A: For fiction, I'm heavily influenced by Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, to name a few. They're just masters at their crafts and I just love their effortless writing style. For script writing, I admire Aaron Sorkin for his rapid-fire dialogue, Charlie Kaufman for his inventiveness, David Milch for his sublime feel for dialogue.

Q: Who are your influences when it comes to directors and why?

A: There are many directors that inspire me, but just to name three: Akira Kurosawa for making his films epic and personal at the same time, the late Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski for making these small intimate movies with metaphysical meanings, and Martin Scorsese for daring to portray the dark sides of humans in his movies.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's A 'Rap'

PLYMOUTH — Within the labyrinth of Webster’s Used Auto Parts, a production crew from Bristol fought through the mud and rain Tuesday to film the last scene in an upcoming Q Strange music video.
Q Strange, or Josh Fiore, is a rapper from Providence, R.I., who came to Connecticut to finish working with Maria Elena Productions, the Bristol outfit that did the Jason “Fury” Flores video called “Bristol State of Mind.”
“This is the last day of shooting; it was a three-day shoot. It took a little bit of time because of scheduling and we had to meet up, but we did a couple of shots of two different bars in Rhode Island,” Q Strange said Tuesday.
Q Strange and Fury have done several shows together and once Q Strange saw Fury’s video, he wanted to work with Maria Elena productions.

“I love hip hop and the music they make,” director Ranses Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez attended Middlesex Community College and was involved with the broadcast communications program. While he was at school, three of his projects were chosen for the college’s Arts and Media Festival. He now makes his home in Bristol.
“I worked with Fury, I directed his ‘Bristol State of Mind.’ Through him I met Q Strange and they allowed me to work with him,” Rodrigquez said.
The last scene they were shooting is set in a scrap yard, an idea that came from Rodriguez.
“This was all his idea,” Q Strange said of Rodriguez. “He just took the song and just kind of visualized what he wanted it to look like and he found the location. We’re happy with it.”
The video is expected to be released in about a week.

PHOTO CREDIT/CAPTION: Mike Orazzi | Staff Jack Beazly, Michael Pereira, Ranses Rodriguez and Josh Fiore after filming a rap music video at Webster Auto Parts in Terryville on Tuesday.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hard Water Is Against the Rocks

SOUTHINGTON — A Southington-based band, Hard Water, has molded itself into one of the most original in the area.
The group recently released its first album, “Against the Rocks,” which features songs with lyrics drawn from the teens’ lives and other sources. “One or two are about girls, one or two are about anti-government,” said James Buckwell, a New Britain High School junior. “They really come out of nowhere,” he said of the lyrics he writes.
The band is made up of James Buckwell, 17, on the bass and vocals; Ian Sherwood, 16, on the guitar; and Julian Sherwood, 14, on the drums and vocals. Each brings his own unique talents and personality into their music, which makes their sound different and distinct.
“Against the Rocks” has 12 tracks, all of which offer something new for the ear to enjoy. It’s mostly alternative rock, but every once in awhile you can hear punk creeping in. The album is strong altogether, because the band is able to mix talent and new ideas with their extensive knowledge of the rock genre, to make something that sounds compelling.

“My influences would be Bob Marley and the Wailers, The Who, The Strokes, Sublime and A Tribe Called Quest,” said Buckwell.
Ian Sherwood then gave his influences, “The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Van Halen.” He also enjoys New Alternative music.
Julian Sherwood, who does amazing drum work on the track “In the Garden,” listens to the same things as James and Ian.
When the band isn’t listening to their favorite music or practicing they’re busy with school or shows. They’ve played at Toad’s Place, The Space and Zen Bar. They’ve also been featured on WCCC 106.9 as the Homegrown Artist of the week, and they made it onto The River 105.9 twice.
Just recently, Hard Water was featured on Fox TV 61’s 10 p .m. news.
They’ve accomplished a lot, but where are they going to go from here?
“I want to do this as long as possible,” said Buckwell.
Julian said, “I want to go to college, but stick with the band as long as possible,” he said, also saying that he would like to study marine biology.
Ian also wants to remain with band, but would like to keep it as a side project. That is unless the band makes it big.
“I want to go to college, but continue with the band,” said Ian.
If you are interested in buying a copy of their album you can do so at, or itunes. If you would like to see them live they will be playing a show at Zen Bar, 317 Farmington Ave., Plainville. March 27.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace Going 3D In 2012

On Feb. 10, 2012, Jar Jar Binks will annoy us in the third dimension. Yes, the infamous first chapter of the Star Wars saga is going 3D, but who is actually excited about this?
I'm not going to sit here and bash the film, that's been done enough, but I would like to ask why do we need these films in 3D? The prequel trilogy had enough problems with filling up the screen with nonsense and now they're going to add 3D, it just seems like we should let these films be.
Maybe some of you are excited to see the saga in 3D, but I feel it's unnecessary. I also feel that 3D is really unnecessary, yeah for some movies it might work, but do we really need to see the original Star Wars trilogy in 3D? I don' think so.
A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi captured our hearts and imaginations without the use of 3D. I loved these movies because I felt a connection to the characters, the world they lived in and the story. Yeah the early special effects were great and the lightsabers are kick ass, but those things aren't the reason I come back to these films, I come back to them to enjoy the story and the characters.
Bottom line: I'm not really interested in seeing the prequels in 3D and the original trilogy doesn't need it, because their story and characters are already in the third dimension.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Virgin Mary Sighted

NOTE: I know it's not Entertainment, but this is a story I wrote that was picked up by NBC and The Weather Channel.

Amid the ice and snow of winter, Pequabuck residents found a sign that has warmed their hearts.
What started as an ice flow has slowly formed into what residents are seeing as the Virgin Mary.

Randy Blanchette, the man who spotted Mother Mary, brought it to the attention of his kids and neighbors.

“At first it just looked like a waterfall. As the days went on it started to melt and form the Virgin Mary,” Blanchette said.
The ice formation sits between two windows on Blanchette’s neighbor’s roof, and due to the warmer weather has been getting smaller each day.
“It’s so awesome. It changes minute by minute,” Blanchette said, later adding, “I think it’s a natural phenomenon.”
Blanchette pointed out the veil he sees covering Mary, and how it resembles the statue they put into bathtubs.
“It looks like Virgin Mary, plain and simple,” he said.
Jayde and Zacherie Blanchette, Randy’s daughter and son, said they also see the Virgin Mary.
“It’s Mother Mary,” said Jayde.
Jayde is an altar girl at the Immaculate Conception Church in Terryville, and Zacherie will soon be receiving his first communion.
“We are religious,” said Blanchette, who asked that the street featuring the Virgin Mary not be identified.
Be sure to take a look at the video at to decide if there’s a resemblance.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Top 10 Zelda Games


The Legend of Zelda turns 25 today. It’s been 25 years of green tunics, dark realms, time travel, magic fairies and magic swords. So, to celebrate in this monumental event I put together my top 10 Zelda games of all-time. Let’s get into to it.

10. Phantom Hourglass

The sequel to The Wind Waker starts off the list. It was a game that offered a new way to control the hero Link as he set out, once again, to rescue the Princess Zelda (or Tetra, which is her name in this game).
The story is simple. Link and his pirate friends find a ghost ship, which takes Tetra. It is then up to Link to collect sand, which he places into a phantom hourglass. This allows him more time to explore time-limited dungeons, in his effort to find his friend. It's not really a deep story, but it works.
This is a great Zelda handheld game but falls slightly short for me. The graphics are fantastic and the presentation is top notch. The only thing that goes against it is how simple it is. I wish it was more challenging for veterans of the franchise, but it's not.
This was a game marketed to a more casual crowd. Yet, it still has great moments, like all the Zelda games that came before it.

9. Four Swords Adventures

What's better than one Link? Well, four of course, and that is exactly what you get here.
This game put together gameplay from the Nintendo GameCube and the Nintendo Game Boy Advance. This was to give gamers a more cooperative and competitive multiplayer. You would have to hook up your Game Boy Advance to your GameCube and during different events the screen would switch to one or the other. It sounds like a hassle but it worked, and it was fun.
After you had every thing hooked up, You would then try to get four friends together and journey through eight levels. The game was very linear but very clever.
People complained about the graphics and sound, but I liked it all. I won't say that these people are wrong to complain, because I understand where they're coming from, but it made me feel like I was playing a brand new Super Nintendo Game. Also, this is the closest thing to A Link to the Past sequel we ever had and that's why I love it.

8. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

The black sheep of the series and the only one not to use The Legend of Zelda title.
The story, again, is very simple. Link sets out on a quest to save Princess Zelda, who is under a sleeping spell.
The game was much different from the original 'The Legend of Zelda' and even Zelda games that came after it. It dropped it's overhead view and gave us a side-scrolling game, except when you're on the world map. Many people hated this game, because how different and ridiculously hard it was. Yet, it's not a bad game, at all.
When I played this game as a kid, it was frustrating, but as I got older I started to enjoy it more and more. It introduced certain things that would stick with the series, most notable, magic.
The other thing I really liked about it, is its combat system. It was very advanced for its time.
I don't think people should hate this game, yeah it's hard, but that challenge is what I missed so much in Phantom Hourglass.

7. Link's Awakening

The first game set out of the Kingdom of Hyrule, we come to one of the best Game Boy games of all-time.
The story begins when Link's ship is destroyed in a storm. He then washes up on Koholint Island, where he is found by a girl named Marin. Link soon sets out on a journey to return home. He gets his sword, and follows the guidance of an owl, who tells him that the only way home is to wake the Wind Fish. A fish who is in a giant egg on top of Mt. Tamaranch. This fish can only be woken up by the eight instruments of the Sirens. Yes, a lot more is happening in the story this time around.
This game really sticks out of the series, because it's one of the few titles you aren't rescuing Princess Zelda, which was a nice change. The other thing that made it stick out, was its sense of humor.
This is the perfect handheld Zelda game. The things Phantom Hourglass lacked, Link's Awakening had. The challenge remained there and being able to take the journey on the road was an amazing thing back then.

6. Twilight Princess

The first epic Zelda game on the Nintendo Wii. The story was darker and the adventure was huge.
A darkness starts to take over Hyrule, a darkness known as the Twilight. Link soon gets the ability to turn into a wolf and is helped by a twilight creature, known as Midna. They then both set off to save Hyrule and Princess Zelda.
The story does feel very familiar, but the way it's presented makes it engaging.
There is so much content in this game that it will make your head spin. You can easily spend over 30 hours playing through the main quest, but close to 70 if you try and collect everything. Nintendo packed so much into this world, showing us how much they actually care.
Twilight Princess also sports a very grown up look and feel. Like I said above, its dark. Yet, it's not so dark where you loose that Zelda charm, but this story is definitely targeted to a more adult crowd this time.

5. The Wind Waker

Hyrule is underwater and this time we get a boat.
This game takes place 100 years after The Ocarina of Time. Hyrule has suffered from a great flood, leaving most of the kingdom underwater. Link originally sets out to rescue his sister, which he does, but is ultimately pulled into journey that has him saving Princess Zelda and stopping Ganondorf.
The Wind Waker got a lot of negative feedback about the way it looked. After the more realistic approach during Nintendo 64 days, fans wanted Nintendo to continue making real looking Zelda games. What we received was the total opposite, we got a cartoon looking world.
This didn't bother me, because once you started playing, this was the same old Zelda. Yes, the adventure was a lot less challenging but the world it was set in made up for that. The Wind Waker is huge and there is no loading times, it all goes together so smoothly.

4. A Link to the Past

We return to form in the third game of the series.
The story begins when a magician named Agahnim kidnaps young maidens in Hyrule in the effort to open a seal that imprisons Ganon. Link is pulled into the adventure by Princess Zelda. He then has to save her, the maidens and Hyrule.
This is the true sequel to the original 'The Legend of Zelda'. The overhead view is back and side-scrolling is kicked to the curb. This game was the real evolution of the series and one that I play over and over again.
There is so much to love here, the gameplay is fantastic, the quest is long and challenging and the story is actually told during the game. That's right this was something different, because stories were usually told in the manuals.
I could gush over this game for hours. I loved the music, I loved how felt connected to the characters, it was just a special journey.

3. The Legend of Zelda

The timeless classic that started it all lands in the number 3 spot.
The story was explained in the games manual. The evil Ganon has brought chaos to the land of Hyrule and is after the Triforce. He kidnaps Princess Zelda and it's up to Link to stop find the triforce pieces, stop Ganon and rescue Princess Zelda. All these story elements would come back again and again in the Zelda series.
The overhead view, dungeons, magic swords and puzzles were all here. The game also offered a save function, because the adventure was too big to complete in a few hours (This was something new for consoles).
After you completed the first quest you unlocked the 'Second Quest', this one was more difficult. You could also access this quest by entering your name as ZELDA, when creating a new save file.

2. Ocarina of Time

Yes, the Zelda masterpiece does not make it to my number 1 spot.
I can already feel the angry emails being sent to me right now. Yet, the truth is, even though this is considered the best game of all-time, it's not my favorite Zelda game.
The story centers around Link. He is a Kokiri that lacks a fairy. Don't worry he soon gets the awesome Navi, who guides him through this adventure. Link sets out with his new fairy friend to rescue Princess Zelda and stop Ganondorf, again. Yet, this time we travel through time.
After we saw Mario step into the world of 3D, we all anticipated what Link could do in 3D. What we received was nothing short of amazing.
Considered to be one of the best games of all-time and for good reason. Everything in this game is tuned. The gameplay is smooth and the world is large.
The only reason I didn't pick it for my number 1 spot is because I connected more with the next game.

1. Majora's Mask

You have only three days to save the world.
The story takes place in Termina, where masks are scattered and you relive the same three days over and over. You get to live them over and over because you have the Ocarina, which controls time. In these three days you must help people, track down masks and stop the moon from crashing into the world.
I like this game the best because I felt connected to the world. The town of Termina is filled with people with their own stories and you get to participate in them. I also loved how the game was darker than Ocarina of Time, and the underlying theme was about healing the world.
I know people felt limited and that the game felt repetitive to them, but not for me. I thought the three day time limit made you feel the pressure.
Majora's Mask is a great game and deserves the same amount of attention that Ocarina of Time gets.

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's The Amazing Spider-Man!

All I have to say is that this looks awesome. The title of the film has also been released, it will be call The Amazing Spider-Man.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Do You Want To Survive Or Be Voted Out?

The popular CBS show, Survivor, makes its way to the Nintendo Wii, but is this a game you want to survive or be voted out of?

I have to admit, when I heard that a Survivor games had been released for the Wii, I thought it could be decent. I was wrong.

To begin, you don’t play as one survivor; you play as an entire tribe. So, for those of you who wanted to role play your own survivor, you are out of luck. The survivors in the game are from the show and they each are good at certain mini-games.

Oh yeah, this game is just a mini-game collection. There are no alliances, no camp life and no hidden immunity idols. They strip all those things away and keep only the challenges, which are mediocre at best.

The biggest problem I had with the challenges is how awful they are. Some of them are just hard to control and others seem to be broken. If I swing the Wii remote, I expect the game to do something right away, not 10 hours later (that was an exaggeration, it’s more like 20 hours).

After you do two challenges, you either go to another challenge if you win or tribal council if you loose. Yes, at least they have tribal council, too bad it sucks more than a leech (come on … you know you just laughed).

In this tribal council there is no voting, just when I thought they couldn’t get away from the show anymore, instead the computer picks a person and they’re gone. What the hell is that? That’s bulls***! If you win you get to pick someone off from the other tribe, which is kind of nice but still stupid.

Then after you vote enough people off you come to the merge, which is pointless. The merge is stupid and a waste of time, because you still compete against the other tribe. Nothing changes in the game. As far as I’m concerned the merge is just a poorly put together cut scene.

The other big problem I have with the game is the horrible lip syncing on Jeff Probst. Yes, Probst does do his own voice work, which is nice, but the people who made the game didn’t take the time to animate him properly. It’s just bad looking.

I can’t really say anything good about this game. It’s poorly made, the Wii controls barley work on some games and everything you would expect from a Survivor game is not here. They just slapped on the Survivor name to make a quick buck.

Hopefully in the future we can have a deep Survivor experience, until then, just stay away from this one.

1 out of 10

NOTE: If you have any requests for reviews send them my way. My email is at the top.