Super High Me Documentary Review

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This documentary follows Doug Benson and marijuana usage in America. It takes time to experiment with Benson’s own usage, in multiple ways. They test him physically, mentally, and even spiritually when he’s high and sober. It even touches on the flipfop mentality of the marijuana laws in California and the DEA. Then they end it with how they are going to keep fighting for the right to smoke pot.

This was both hilarious and almost stereotypical. I kinda knew that if I watched a documentary about a pot smoker that he’d be in SUPPORT of it. Who would have thought, right? Half the documentary, is just that: rant and raves for support of pot growing/selling/etc. The other half is a almost warm support for people who are generally suffering, or are just trying to find ways to be happy, and their fight with law makers.

I was grateful they didn’t make any wild claims for pot use seeing as the scientific evidence presented was sparse. For the most part it was slightly flawed and probably the weakest part of the documentaries argument. They’d show him taking the same medical tests, mental tests, spiritual, etc. each and every time, both while he was high and sober. Now in my theory, and many others, you have to be somewhat intelligent to be a comedian. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the old phrase of “practice makes perfect” fell into this category. So he would take the same test and do better because he has the mental capacity for it, and it wouldn’t be restricted due to marijuana. Also he’s 1 guy verses the millions of probabilities out there. If they wanted to make a better argument they’d have some hundred thousand of two different races and do the same experiment with some modifications.

The times he did interview the doctors, or medical pot doctors, the interview was sparse or gave a very basic view point. The scientific evidence, or proof, was once again none existent. They’d basically give a opinion and move on to the next interviewee. The marijuana enthusiasts, and sellers, were given a brief lime light as well and they pretty much only stated that they were going to keep using the drug and selling it. None of them, including the celebrity guest appearances, didn’t provide any insightful information or positive stance for marijuana use. A lot of it almost range true to the mantra of “we’re going to fight the man” from the early 60s hippie movement. At the same time they only gave the anti-pot advocates little to not time and, again, they didn’t present any evidence as to why pot use is bad. The only evidence they displayed was that the DEA only seemed to bust random pot sellers with little to no reason other then the fact that they were relying off of federal law, despite the fact that states have the right to govern themselves. You know it was only one of the major factors of the Civil War. They seem to forget this, and often.

This was a enjoyable documentary, but it is all sounded by the pot culture and has a lopsided argument. The jokes were funny, as well as seeing Doug Benson stoned off his gourd, but it will still be a hard sell to some. They don’t make much of a leeway on scientific evidence. Also they only briefly touch on the positive effects of its medical use. The only hard sell was that the government employees, and some law makers don’t seem to know what their doing and have laws that easily over lap each other.

Watch it one night for some brief entertainment rather then a focused documentary on pot usage. If anything this is ‘the pot argument’ basics.

6.0/10

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Thor: The Dark World Movie Review

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Warning Some Spoilers

Odin, ages ago, fought and extinguished the Dark Elves who were trying to reverse the course of the universe and turn it eternally dark. In turn he captured their ultimate weapon known as the Aether. It has unlimited power and can’t be destroyed. So Odin and his men hid it. Jane and Darcy, back on Earth, discover a wormhole in London due to certain cosmic forces aligning. Jane gets sucked through one by the Aether. Meanwhile Loki is facing his punishment in the Asgard prisons and Thor struggles with various family issues.

This is one of the better Marvel movies made. It’s fun, fast paced, and has a lot of what most people could want from a Thor movie: action. It moves at such a rapid pace doesn’t fail to explain anything. However it failed a few times to explain why some things existed. So we were pretty much left with “this happened, deal with it.” They’ve always done a great job on building the characters as usual. They did borrow some from astrology to explain one of the main plot points, which was rather cool.

As the story develops they only touch lightly back on the Thor romance. The most interesting aspect is that they gave a villain a insane amount of screen time. This really develop the relationship between Loki and his brother Thor. The main thing that shook most was the unexpected deaths of people. However since the comics tried to keep true to the Norse mythology, then most should have known it was coming. I know I did.

The cast did a good job for their roles, but there were some noticeable differences. Natalie Portman (Jane Foster) did a decent supporting role, but considering her skill as a actress it was disappointing that she didn’t have more important lines. She pretty much played a ‘damsel in distress’ kinda roll. Hell, half the movie she spent it falling down. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) is good as the usual ground smashing hero, but there aren’t too many things that endear him to the audience.

Tom Hiddleston (Loki) shined seeing as he had the best lines. Not only does he shine as a smarmy jackass, but there are a few scenes that really make you feel bad for his character. But then he quickly corrects that later and makes you hate him all over again. Another that stood out was Kat Dennings (Darcy Lewis). She plucky. She’s strange. She’s hilarious and shows some similarity to her other performances, but it was still welcoming seeing as her quaky personality helped balance out some of the more tense moments. Also Stellan Skarsgard (Erik Selvig) was fantastic as a supporting character as usual. Instead of being drab, like in Pirates of the Caribbean series, he flounders about as the crazy madman who can see the universe and is captively strange while performing.

This is a solid Marvel film. It feels like it’s leading up to more Marvel movies or is building up for another sequel. It excels in continuing the story from the comics and creating really unique fight scenes. However it falters on minor story flaws that don’t play to character strengths like it did in the original.

Go see it in theaters, it’s pretty good.

7.5/10

Miss Representation Documentary Review

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Miss Representation is a exploratory documentary about negative imagery of women in American’s movies and media. It interviews various women in the media, like comedians and actresses. Periodically they’ll pull up disturbing statistics of women who have various problems and it’s insinuated that its due to peer pressure from the media. Other times they discuss various amounts of pressure put on women in the news room or politics and the comments people make on them rather then the political topic at hand.

This documentary does point out some good points about blatant sexism in the media, but anyone with half a brain can notice it without the help of this documentary. On top of that all of the arguments found in this documentary are sometimes considerably lopsided, consist of too many variables, or just factually flawed. Other times they bring in the most subjective examples possible that would only make logical sense if all women were, well, batshit crazy and let the media influence their thoughts all the time.

There are randomly displayed facts during the documentary are distracting and many consist of too many variables. One fact that randomly came on the screen was that “17% of teens engage in cutting and self-injurious behavior.” OK, fine. This happens. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has any relation to the media negative portrayal of women. Besides for some people this is a sign of a growing mental problem.

Another example was that a girls sister was being bullied in school for not having the ‘perfect body’ and cuts herself because of the bullying. This has nothing to do with the media. Kids who bandwagon ideals and bully early in life are going to continue to continue to do it into adulthood. The problem there isn’t the media. There is something wrong with her damn class, the parents who have failed to teach their children better, and she needs to be removed from it.

Then they commented on the advertising and how tons of women have a ‘more desirable body.’ I’ll have to kinda agree with them on that. It is a forced image that has been around since the model Twiggy came to America in the 60s. However, the only reason they keep things that was is that sex sells and the celebrities keep their bodies that way because 50% of their job is to keep their image. So they’re going to be scrawny or whatever. Should it change? Yes and it slowly is thanks to the internet and some media is helping change the way people think about the female image. However this, like most things, people need to realize is just fantasy. Most people will get this.

One of the biggest things they hit on is the sexualization of many female characters. It seemed that in many of the movies they played clips of the analysts still thought that woman was being objectified despite being seen as fighting equals in whatever action movie it is. Well guess what? The same thing can be said about men in all movies. You rarely see people who aren’t ripped and have less then 3% body fat. They are rarely ‘ugly’ or short (that being under 5’11). If they are either the media always play to the stereotypes. In many movies men go shirtless and are sexually objectified for women in the audience. Like in the original Thor movie Chris Hemsworth was nearly naked for half the movie.

This is one of my biggest problems with the documentary itself. They sound like they were the only ones being objectified by the media when in reality: everyone is being objectified in some way. Asians are always nerds in movies or ninjas, or assumed ninjas. Blacks are either thugs or side characters. White guys are often the serial rapist murderer bad guy of the movie who’s going to sacrifice babies to Satan or the one dressing up as Captain America and telling people to eat their fucking Wheaties. The bottom line is that everyone is being objectified in some way or that may be just other peoples interpretation of it.

Also some of this seems to pit men as the bad guy who are controlling the media to oppress women. This is just bloody wrong. The mass medias goal is to make money. That is their #1 priority. News isn’t news anymore and the media isn’t censored like it use to be because they want to make MORE MONEY.  They don’t give a shit if something hurts your feelings or you miss your sons ball game because you’re worrying about some stupid shit you saw on a trash soap opera. They are going to use whatever exploitation method(s) available, within legal means, to make fucking MONEY.

The major factor they didn’t bring up that bugged the hell out of me the most was the fact that they didn’t mention any parental involvement at all. If you want STABLE damn people you should encourage the parents to, simply put, do their job. You know guide their kids, all that jazz. Hell it even ENDS with the narrator of the film, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, says she isn’t going to let the media influence her daughter. So at least she learned what to do: be a parent and not let other people to raise her kid.

In the end I hated this documentary. Yes they made valid points and many times I was right their with them on how appalling the way people talk about female politicians. Other clips they brought up of a female news anchor who wants to talk actual news and instead they’d talk about Paris Hilton who has as much appeal as a dumpster full of aborted fetuses. I was right there with them on that too. That was stupid. However, as said before anyone with half a brain would realize that if you’re anywhere rational or logical you shouldn’t worry about what hoes do on reality shows, or in the media. People watch that, just like the Jerry Springer show, because they know it’s trash. Its ‘fun trash.’ Whoever takes that shit seriously should seek mental help.

If you are completely oblivious to anything the media puts out and how it affects female kids/teens/etc., or lack guidance, then watch this documentary. If you’ve already realized that some of the best people don’t look like they walked out of Hollywood, then skip this.

4.5/10

Gone Home PC Game Review

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Warning: Mild Spoilers

Gone Home is about a story of a sister two sisters. Samantha is stuck at home while her sister, Katie, is off traveling the world. So she writes down her every thought to share with her sister when she gets back. However when Kate arrives home the house is empty. There’s note on the front door stating that Sam left for some unknown reason.

This is a touching story. It purely represents how people can’t ever really go home again and expect life to be the exact same as when they left. It slowly, but bluntly, tells you how time changes everything and pushes people forward, or even away from each other. The game is every blatant about this with the many clues it leaves around. However it is the very definition of first world problems and is slightly riddled with stereotypical teen angst groaning you’d find in any American’s 1980s teen movies, but without any actual reason for conflict.

At first I was intrigued because it gives a somewhat approving approach to letting me be a completely voyeur into someone’s family. As I wondered around I would get to read into each persons life and their problems. This ability only poked at my curiosity to go further. Even the storm outside the house made the dark hallways seem somber rather then creepy. With a few steps here and there it opens up other parts of the house and even shows you secret entrances and old remnants of the previous owner of the house. This was only intriguing to only a limited extent.

Then there are other parts of the story that are just completely bland. There’s multiple clues lying around that would have suggested a troubled marriage or the parents having trouble dealing with their more rebellious daughter. However I found myself not caring, because I would only be able to find 1 or 2 notes on what one parent thought about the situation. The other parent (most of the time this was the father) would be completely left out by the fact that there wouldn’t be anything of his to read or analyze.

Other times the clues were handwritten notes that were completely illegible. Want to find out about the house and why it’s nicknamed? Well guess what? You probably won’t be able to read what happened since it looks like a small gerbil had a seizure while holding a pen on one of the only notes from the owner. This only left me frustrated and I ended up not caring at all about what happened. So this made it feel like half of the story was incomplete.

This was followed by the continued girl-to-woman story of Sam. While this was cute and heart warming to reading about a girl finding herself, it left me wondering if I should have just read a book instead. Whatever item you pick up plays a diary page of Sam’s and it belts out over the soft music in the background and the occasional thunder. None of it was too interesting, and as said before: it is riddled with clichés. The 90’s punk and girl grunge references even come off as cliché due to the same standard writing all over the posters of ‘fighting the man’ and what not. It’s like they rebel against a establishment without any clear reason to do so.

It lacks basic game play mechanics and good exploring rewards. Like with most games it might have clues as to what to do next that are clear and help continue the story. Yes, this was partly my fault, but after having such limited interaction with items I started looking less and less for items to fiddle with. It doesn’t interest me to pick up a 3d plate, or 3d tooth brush, and spin it around. The 3d books serve little to no purpose, except for one. Then the story items are so blatantly obvious they aren’t misable or they look so generic that I didn’t bother picking it up considering it was only the 900 th random piece of paper strung about in the house.

In the end Gone Home is another video game experiment that doesn’t feel complete. Many gamers, including myself, will be greatly disappointed with this. This is due to the lack of just about everything that makes video games playable. Yes it’s filled with every artistic metaphors and emotional impact that would be in most video games. Although for me the story was lost due to the stereotypical storyline of the subject matter, plot holes, and illegible clues. If it went on for a few more hours and explained everyone else’s view point I would have probably enjoyed it a lot more.

Either skip this or get it on the cheap (i.e. below $10). It’s only 2 hours worth of gameplay and has ZERO replay value.

5.0/10

Beyond: Two Souls Video Game Review PS3

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Format: Playstation 3 exclusive

WARNING: Mild Spoilers!!

Quantic Dream is the company who brought you Heavy Rain and Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy. Recently they released Beyond: Two Souls, which is a deep spiritual journey that spans the life of a young girl named Jodie Holmes. She has another soul linked to her for unknown reasons. Aiden, the soul, has various supernatural powers you can control. Due to this ability, and other elements in the game, you can make various moral choices that help change some of the endings of the game and various paths throughout the game. Each choice makes you think about the options before and after and usually allowed adequate time for anyone to think about them. Also depending on the choices you make the characters voice their opinion due to your interactions with them or choices you’ve made.

This is one of my new favorite stories of all time. I’ll repeat: This is one of my new favorite stories of all time. I know it can’t rank up there with Rear Window, or the newer stuff like The Dark Knight, due to its flaws but it comes really damn close. Yes it’s the typical reluctant hero kinda field that has seen a rise in the recent comic book movies, but a much of the way they handle it and let you choose the characters actions is unique. You can control most everything she does from being a good kid when she’s younger to cold bitch when she’s a adult. Aiden can aid, or hinder, all her actions along the way. You can have him/her kill people, rig ATMs, posses people, and even defend Jodie when she can’t. This is really fun due to the fact that he can’t die and the access to many of his abilities are usually all readily available. Yes the game tends to limit you sometimes on what you do, but I think that tries to enforce the idea that Jodie does have some control over Aiden.

I found myself really empathized with the characters, even the douche ones, due to how well script is written. They really take the time to develop each character or bring them on long enough to see how they are emotionally attached to Jodie. It eventually gets easier to grasp when you play whatever level multiple times. You can also use Aiden to see what others think of you, or your actions, which only adds heaps more depth to the story. Although it is irritating when important dialogue is missed sometimes because I didn’t switch to Aiden and wonder off to a room where other character are located. It shines even in simpler tasks like trying to help Jodie become romantically involved with Ryan.

With that being said there’s a wide variety of moral choices you can make from helping the homeless to strangling childhood bullies. The amount of choices are insanely large and many of them, despite doing something completely evil, will warrant a achievement. Regardless of achievement incentives to do evil things I found myself playing the same levels multiple times just to see what else I could do or what I missed the first time. So it was like a moving piece of art that you have to keep looking at in order to notice all the details. With replaying multiple levels it was also fun to see how it changed the people around her by the end of the level.

Also Jodies reactions to it all also adds more emotional stability and sanity to the situation which helps considering how fantastically strange things turn sometimes. It even helped develop her into a strong female lead while not making her look like a complete bitch. This is something kinda rare in story telling, because most authors tend to make the female leads too masculine and they lose almost all femininity to them. This played a delicate balance between both while still giving you control over what you wanted her to do.

The story structure threw me in multiple directions without warning. At one point you could be navigating Jodie through a wrecked closed security site and the dead would get posses and try to murder Jodie. Then the next scene she experiences her first love with one of her hunky boy toys in the game. While the jumps were often jarring I’ve seen enough of this style of story telling (See Memento and Pump Fiction) that it didn’t bother me. However I don’t doubt many would enjoy the game because of how disjointed it feels sometimes. Although I don’t think I could have picked a better way to display the confusion of a terrifying journey like this without jumbling it. I’ll admit I liked the change of pace because some levels were rather relaxing compared to say the previous two where Jodie was almost killed or raped.

The thing that really heightens the mood is the graphics. They are simply stunning. There were a few scenes where you run through a burning house and you can see burning embers float past your face. The fire, and a lot of the water effects, are some of the best I’ve seen in gaming. Period. One scene where it’s raining you could see it run down Jodie’s face, drop by drop and her clothes would slowly get wetter as it rained down. Also I don’t think I ever saw any noticeable glitches, which is rare for any game.

Sometimes the interaction is limited due to the game play elements. There are many quick time events and there are many times it has the same limitations of a 1990s point and click adventure. Like there would be a interactive object that would only prompt Jodie to comment on it or the interaction was bland. Also instead of pointing and clicking you wobble the joy sticks in whatever awkward way the game instructs you too. This, sometimes, isn’t fun, but I played along with it to basically see what happened next.

The action sequences, while super fun to watch, really posed no challenge. You, as long as you’ve played some kind of game in your life, will be able to run, dodge, fight whatever police, CIA officer, African militia, etc. with great ease. Which made me wonder why they even bothered with a difficulty option. It asks your video game skills, at the very beginning of the game, and basically gives you a choice between normal mode and normal mode with hints. This just trivialized the whole option considering it didn’t change the difficulty at all. This was also disappointing considering their previous games had some level of difficulty. Like with Heavy Rain you had to concentrate more then most games on what you were doing or going to do next and the choices that you were prompted to choose from. Then Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy was notably hard in some areas which would impact the story negatively, and sometimes get main characters killed for the rest of the story. Seriously, many levels were just made of pure keyboard snapping frustration and Beyond: Two Souls was a walk in the park compared to this.

However, I really only consider this game to have only one completely terrible thing about it: the controls. The controls are muddled half the time or the camera angles screw up the direction you want to go. There were multiple times where I wanted Jodie to go through a door and she’d kinda rotate left to right and got stuck. I couldn’t zoom out half the time to see what her character was stuck on or doing. So I kinda had to wiggle out of it and walk off. Also there are some blatant dead ends that the camera doesn’t pan out to show you so I would wind up in a corner searching for a door or hidden items (which there are plenty of) in a worthless empty space and that just blatantly wastes time.

Other times there will be something tremendously bad happening and the controls just flat out wouldn’t work. Like, you know, the building your in is about to explode. So instead of running like a normal person, Jodie kinda just jogs around the building. Also during certain scenes like this the run button will be disable. No I’m not joking. The run button, that you use MULTIPLE times in other situations, will be completely useless. I don’t see the point of that. It doesn’t build suspense or help the story. It’s just stupid.

The emotional impact of the story, and multiple endings, only made me want more. It does leave it open for a sequel, but all sequels depend on funding and if the script is good enough. Despite all the negative aspects of this game it is still something that can be deeply enjoyed if you have the patience and don’t mind a different kind of gameplay. This is truly one of the best stories I’ve seen in a video games. It may not be your kind of game due to the artistic gameplay style, or jumbled style of story telling, but I’d say at least rent it or try the demo.

8.5/10

71/100 – Metacritic Critic Reviews

8.1/10 – Metacritic User Reviews

8.0/10 – IMDB

Deathspank Video Game Review

DeathSpank

Format: PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360

Difficulty Played: Don’t Remember

WARNING: Mild Spoilers!

Deathspank is a comedy adventure based on a weird hero in a purple spedo (no I’m not kidding you) who goes on a medieval/steampunk quest to save the land from a tyrannical overlord named Lord Von Prong. Along the way he meet a slew of people who will help him defeat Von Prong, with some draw backs. You gradually venture through the world righting wrongs and helping other random people with simple tasks, like settling a married couples problems. Eventually you figure out what he’s doing and the destruction he’s done.

The gameplay is incredibly boring, despite the controls are easy to master. Most of the quests are nothing but fetch quests. You go to a certain location and either kill a certain creature a dozen or so times or find a certain item. Also it locks you out of certain areas before you’re anywhere near that level so it strips some exploration from you due to the fact that you can’t discover things early like in the Elder Scrolls series. All fighting is just clicking and popping potions. This doesn’t require any skill and only makes it more irritating when many areas can easily overwhelm you with enemies. The terrain is limited and lacks interactivity, despite it being well pixelated.

The graphics are lavishly cartoony and are well shaded. The 2d houses are a nice touch to the game because it leaves room so you can click behind the building and go around it. Other times it allows you to pick up items from enemies you’ve killed behind buildings. There are even areas that the depths in the terrain curves and makes it whole experience feel like you are truly trapped in a small world. To a certain extent it feels like a throw back to top down third person games even though a lot of the world seems like it trys to just round out everything and not over tax whatever system you’re playing it on.

I just completely hate the jokes. Out of all the dialogue and story, which is just bland, the jokes stand out for being the most terrible part of the game. To a certain extent I will admit that comedy is difficult to do in video games. However, after years of experiencing the gaming culture, and how many people take time to go out of their way to mock themselves, the jokes would fall short due to how generic they feel and simplicity of the jokes. Like they have a few pieces of armor that are given names to play off of other RPG cliches, like the Gauntlets of Awesomeness. Then they’ll have quests to get chicken lips and the reason the witch wants you to get them basically amounts to “Why not?” It’s just lame. Its like they’re late to the party and everyone has already talked about the shit they wanted to and are drunk or asleep. I’m not saying they need to change their humor but a lot of it is too intentional and forced.

I was disappointed by this game. People keep saying its hilarious or a good ‘comedy game.’ It was rarely funny and the few jokes that did make me chuckle was almost reminiscent of kid humor or some decent play on words. The gameplay was completely boring. There isn’t any real skill to it all. There’s even a option to let the system chose the best armor for you. At most you just need to stock up on potions and grind grind grind your way to level 20 and after that everything else is cake. Even older games like the original Diablo took more skill then this. Also the story, as said before is super generic.

4.5/10

77/100 – Metacritic Critic Reviews

7.9/10 – Metacritic User Reviews