Will Preston

Review

DVD Review – The Interrupters (2011)

by on Dec.05, 2011, under Films, Flickering Myth, Review

Chicago has had a long history of crime. From the early 20th Century days of Al Capone to the current gang problems in the city. Just like any other major city in America, gang violence is a major concern to the community. So much so, that some ex members of the gangs have vowed to try and stop the violence once and for all. The Chicago based organization known as Ceasefire has a goal to stop the gang violence completely by interrupting potentially violent situations, that could results in shootings and killings.

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World War 3 better be this entertaining

by on Nov.25, 2011, under Review, Video Games

We’ve been hanging on a cliff for two years now. “Which cliff?” some of you might ask. Well, back in 2009, Russia invaded America, and the corrupt US general involved got the closest view of a knife, killing him in the process. Now we have no idea when peace will glide over and sort this mess out. Before you start to panic and slide through the news sites, don’t worry: it’s just a game. Modern Warfare 2, 6th game in the long running Call of Duty franchise, gave us a taste of what to expect if the USSR invaded the USA (hey, it’s been a long time coming). Now, the imaginatively named sequel, Modern Warfare 3, skips the starter and goes straight to the main course: World War 3. It’s the end of the world as we know and it plays fine.

Lots of dramatic posing

After a series of teasing trailers, everyone was getting excited about the locals in the game. From Manhattan to the Champs-Élysées, from Westminster tube station to Somalia, it’s a globe trotting quest of nuclear proportions. Each level has it’s own feel to it and, just like a Hollywood movie, has very memorable set pieces. In New York, you take a chopper ride through wall street before taking a Russian sub in the harbour. In London, you speed into a truck chase in the bustling underground. I won’t even spoil what happens in Paris, but think Team America. Each level has a stunning amount of detail and brings World War 3 into shocking reality.

Continuing from Soaps unfortunate incident with someone else’s knife, the story flips between a handful of groups. After catching up with the remains of Task Force 141 (Captain Price still has the ‘tash), we’re onto taking control the American Delta force, then gunning with the British SAS, as well as tasking the role of a Russian bodyguard. After the invasion of America, The Russians begin to invade Europe like a red blitzkrieg. However, the Russian president is seeking to end the war. This is hampered with the appearance of series villain Makarov, who still wants to see Russia rise to take over the world. It plays out like the summer blockbuster epic that you’ll be watching over and over again. You’ll laugh, you’ll gasp, and, if you’re already attached to the characters, you’ll cry.

London Underground went downhill after privatisation

Whilst it’ll take around six to eight hours to get through, it’s still a fantastic example of how far cinematic gaming has come, as it makes you feel like you’ve been warped into a film. Of course, by this point the series has moved away from pretending to be a realistic shooter. It works better as the ridiculous Michael Bay style explosion gauntlet that throws realism away in favour of providing a dazzling spectacle. Just like Modern Warfare 2, there was a controversial scene that left a rather awful taste in the mouth. Without revealing much, it involves a chemical attack on jolly old London. Whilst it’s not as breathtaking as the nuclear attack in Call of Duty 4 or as uncomfortable as the airport massacre in the previous game, it still fills you with dread whenever you replay the level.

Thankfully, the game doesn’t handle with dread. The controls are just as effective as they always have been. Not only this, but it runs as smoothly and is flowing as ever. Apart from a few new weapons and upgrades, there is barely any new changes. As always, the visuals have had their yearly wash and scrub to keep up with graphic demands. The levels do have a large feel to them, but you’re still restricted to the linear tourist route. If anything, the gameplay has become simpler and more streamlined. The vehicle sections split up the action before it gets too repetitive. One of the new vehicles can only be described as an unmanned robot tank. Armed with a chaingun and grenade launcher, you use this mechanical mayhem-bringer to clear the path for your venerable team to get through. Death from above fans will be glad to know that the AC 130 gunship returns to rain fiery death to everything within it’s reach.

Why is it always the monuments that blow up?

Once you’ve gasped at the games ending and wiped the sweat from the pad, You’ve still got Spec Ops mode to conquer. Not only has a ranking system been included, a Horde-esque survival mode has been added. just like the previous Spec ops, you can complete them with a friend and they focus on various scenarios that have taken place throughout the main game. Each mini mission is challenging and will keep you coming back over and over again. The Survival mode also breathes longevity into the game. Starting off with just a basic pistol, you are trapped in one of the games maps and an endless supply of soldier, dogs and helicopters try to hunt you down. Think Nazi Zombies, but without the Zombies…or the Nazi’s, if we’re being pedantic. Weapons become unlockable as your rank increases, and the enemy forces become tougher and larger. It’s the ultimate arcade experience.

And who could forget the multiplayer experience, as well. Call of Duty’s legendary multiplayer returns yet again with this years edition. Gone are the unfair kill streaks that allow over-skilled players to end the game at the flick of a nuclear switch. instead the streaks have been balanced out, and acquiring them isn’t so unforgiving. The pace is still as fast as ever and you need to be quick on your feet as well as being quick on the draw. As far as the levels go, they are just as varied as the previous games with major set pieces ripped from the main game. The multiplayer is still fast, manic and explosive, even if there has been barely any significant changes.

Modern Warfare 3 delivers an action-spammed experience as usual. With a memorable campaign mode and the new survival game, this is the one Call of Duty title that you will keep coming back to play over and over again.

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Aiming down the sites at the best shooter of the year

by on Nov.07, 2011, under Review, Video Games

Only Christmas has managed to beat 2011’s most anticipated event. It’s not an election, it’s not the second coming and (thank goodness) it’s not the next Richard Curtis film. Yes, Battlefield 3 has been making more men quiver with anticipation without the aid of Jessica Alba. “What’s to be that excited about” you may say in a mature and cynical tone (possibly whilst flicking through a copy of the Evening standard). It is a typical shooter and is not really breaking any major gameplay boundaries it sure does look nice. But looks aren’t everything, right?

The best rendered doorways ever

The most obvious thing to get excited about this new release are the mind-blowingly real visuals. Again, you cynics out there might say that they can’t be that much of a dramatic leap, but you’d be surprised. The animation and movement flows smoother than the evening’s first pint of Guinness and is just as refreshing. There are moments where you think you’re watching the action unfold from the viewpoint of a particularly brave cameraman. It’s the most convincing virtual experience you can get this year and there’s not much more that needs to be said.

The gameplay has hardly changed, but then again it aint broke. A gun catalogue the size of the Pentagon is included in the game with all the various attachments thrown in. Because just using your gun to shoot people get’s a bit vanilla after a while, of course. So it has a lot of guns; a standard expectation of any shooter. But Battlefield doesn’t draw the line at the boomstick bargain basement. They’ve been shopping at Napalm Neddy’s Military Vehicle Dealership too.

Becoming the air strike never felt so good

From jeeps to tanks, from choppers to jets, just about anything with a steering wheel can be used. Coming up against a tank when the only thing protecting you is the destroyable wall right next to you is an experience like no other. At times, the amount of vehicles on a multiplayer map can disrupt the flow of gun fighting, but if you had the sense to get a tank in the first place, you wouldn’t be moaning. In fact, why not take control of a fighter jet and provide countless airstrikes whilst pretending you’re Tom Cruise.

Buildings still blow up, thankfully

As expected, the multiplayer mode on this new game is expansive, incredible and very in-depth. But what about the single player? I have to say, I was quite surprised to find at how interesting the campaign was. Granted, it borrowed (stole, if you will) a lot of set pieces from the past couple of Call of Duty games, but it’s still good in it’s own right. But just like Call of Duty, you’ll have this licked in a particularly anti-social evening. There’ also a co-op mode included within. Just think Spec Ops from Modern Warfare 2.

For some promises that seemed too good to be true, Battlefield 3 has managed to keep up its end of the bargain without sparing anything. Modern Warfare 3 is going to have hard target to aim for as it seems that this years shooter is a hard one to frag. This is the only shooter you will need until Battlefield 4 get’s released with its patented Better-Than-Reality engine.

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DVD Review – Panic Button (2011)

by on Nov.02, 2011, under Films, Flickering Myth, Review

The paranoia around social networking has started to arise recently. Rather then just view sites like Facebook and MySpace as a way of keeping in contact with old friends, there’s the fear that people can be subtly controlled by them. After all, who really reads the terms and conditions right down to the bottom? Thought not. Just because some of your Facebook profile is set to private, does not make it entirely safe. In the low-budget horror, Panic Button, every technophobe’s fear springs from the woodwork.

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DVD Review – The Poet (2003)

by on Oct.31, 2011, under Films, Flickering Myth, Review

Ever since the outstanding Leon, contract killers in the film world always carry a lot of emotional baggage, usually tucked away next to their folding sniper rifle. For every body dropped, another part of them dies inside. Maybe all film hitmen are just as emotional and vulnerable the camera cuts to the good guys. Or is it just another good idea that’s becoming a tired cliché due to unimaginative overuse? In the 2003 Paul Hill film, The Poet, we learn just how absurd this character device can be.

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Dead Pinups EP

by on Oct.28, 2011, under Albums, Music, Review

Click the picture to go to the bands site

Well my large clock is yelling to me that Halloween is this weekend. If all hallows eve is going to really go off without a hitch, you need some anthemic tunes that are going to define 2011’s darkest day. The ideal melding should include the dark metal of White Zombie, the rotting rawness of misfits, and perhaps spray some right old dirty rock out of your jugular whilst you’re looking for a bandage. Which brings me to this month’s newest act, Dead Pinups.

Lurking under your bed in Portsmouth, this frightening four-piece are the must have for anyone who knows how heavy rock should sound. I was convinced I could feel the leather after a minute in. Now that is scary. Mixing the repertoire of drink and drugs with stuff that makes you jump in the dark, there is nothing stopping you waving a severed arm in the air like you just don’t care. Bouncy, swaggering and just enough riffs to bury in a mass grave against UN regulations.

Without stopping to check the speed limit, Drone Zombie bashes through the wall of the EP as the opening track. Pounding with a creeping guitar riff. Bump in the Night feels more like a mosh in the pit. This one will possess people and have them chanting the chorus back at the band like the best dressed cult ritual you’ll ever see. Turning right at Serenade Boulevarde is Dancing Tonight, a headbanging declaration of filthy love. Finishing with a stunner is Facedown, a White Zombie-inspired track with unexpected jabs of Oingo Boingo.

Dead Pinups are the only thing you need to listen to whilst wearing leather and looking cool this month. Just remember to take a shower before, and preferably after; this is dirty rock.

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DVD Review – Devil’s Gate (2003)

by on Oct.24, 2011, under Films, Flickering Myth, Review

One of the least appealing settings for any film is in a small and isolated community. If the inhabitants aren’t committing some kind bizarre ritual, they’re usually making any token outsider feeling extremely unwanted. From burning policemen in The Wicker Man to raping and terrorising a couple in Straw Dogs, highly populated cities never felt safer in comparison to the middle of nowheresville. So when a woman has to travel from the mainland to a remote north sea island, the isolation is so thick you could batter an outsider to death with it.

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DVD Review – Deep Winter (2008)

by on Oct.18, 2011, under Films, Flickering Myth, Review

When is a film not a film? When it’s an extreme sports video with a story stapled on in a panic at the last minute. Now I’m a lay man when it comes to the nuances of snowboarding and downhill skiing. Obviously, a film exclusively dealing with the subject isn’t going to be my first choice when it comes to vegetating in from of the telly all evening. The main problem with Deep Winter, is that it seems to think it can just sell an entire film on it’s only saving grace. It’s almost as if fusty things such as narrative, dialogue and character development don’t really matter at all to Mikey Hilb.

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Chimaira – The Age of Hell

by on Oct.05, 2011, under Albums, Music, Review

Click picture to listen

It has been ten years since Chimaira’s first album screamed into existence and the band have just about perfected their heavy roar. The Age of Hell is the latest offering from Cleveland’s metalcore gathering and there is nothing light about this album.

On the whole, it’s a gritty and pounding affair with little call for calm. The title track bursts into the album like an epic doom anthem that draws you in. There are moments throughout of surprising guitar finesse. The track, Scapegoat, suddenly whips out a beautiful rush of Spanish guitar straight after a heavier than thou grindfest.

It’s also a pretty well produced affair, but you can tell that Chimaira have just about got their sound perfected. Not the most surprising album, but certainly not the dullest.

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DVD Review – South Central (1992)

by on Sep.30, 2011, under Films, Flickering Myth, Review

In the film world, Los Angeles seems to be the city of lost hope, rather than the city of lost angels. Unless your looking at the rise of an up and coming star, you’re looking at the down trodden ghettos; an extreme contrast to the glitzy Hollywood-land image of the town. Whilst no large city isn’t a stranger to the strife of gang warfare, Los Angeles always seems to be one of the first five cities to pop into your head when it comes to the dreaded G word. So what better time to look into the gang problems of LA than the early Nineties?

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