Borderlands – A Review by Film Nerd

Developer: 2K games, Gearbox

Console: 360, PS3

Synopsis: The player takes on the role of one of four treasure hunters, each with their own specialised skill set.   You (or your team in multiplayer) are on a mission to find the Vault on the planet of Pandora, a source of unknown riches.   As you proceed, there are numerous side-quests in this game, letting you delve deeper into this space-western setting and the characters that inhabit it.

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Catherine – A Review by Film Nerd

Console: PS3

Developer: Atlus

Synopsis: The player takes on the character of Vincent Brooks, whom has been in a long-term relationship with Katherine.   We meet him in the week that Katherine begins pressing him to make a larger commitment.   Vincent starts having nightmares, after which he wakes each morning next to Catherine, a girl whom seems the complete opposite of everything Katherine is.

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Amusing video game commercials

I must apologise that my posts have not been as regular of late.   I have been a little busy, working in one of Revenge of the Film Nerds’ favourite stores, Gametraders Blacktown.

As a result though, a few commercials have come to my attention in the past week that I feel compelled to share.   Enjoy!!

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inFAMOUS – A Review by Film Nerd

Consoles: PS3

Developer: Sony, Sucker Punch

Synopsis: You play as Cole, a simple courier whom has a package to deliver that turns out to be a bomb called the Ray Sphere.   It kills thousands of people, but Cole is still alive, imbued with special electricity related powers.   Enlisted by the mysterious Moya to get to the bottom of the mystery, Cole sets out to track down Kessler, the guy that had him deliver the package in the first place.   Along the way, Cole faces a number of moral dilemmas, and must decide whether two follow a selfish or a selfless path along the game, each choice opening up new abilities along the way.

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Birthday Boast Post

Last week, I celebrated my 30th birthday, and for this milestone I decided against the big party, opting instead for some major geeky gifts.   Here I share my horde with our readers, hopefully giving some like-minded pop-culture fanatics a few ideas for when their next birthdays roll around.

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Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga

Console: X-Box 360, PS3, Wii, DS

Developer: Tt Games, Lucasarts

Synopsis: Play through the entire Star Wars saga, from the Phantom menace to Return of the Jedi… in Lego!!   In addition to story mode, there are a lot of other playable side games, as well as extras to unlock by playing the levels again after the original run.   There is even a surprise guest character or two!!

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L.A. Noire – A Review by Film Nerd

Console: X-Box 360, PS3

Publisher: Rocksteady Games, Team Bondi

Players: 1

Synopsis:   You take on the role of Cole Phelps, a decorated WWII veteran, whom is climbing up the ranks in the L.A.P.D in the late 1940s.   As Phelps, you have a number of cases to solve in a number of departments in the police force.   You must interview suspect, determine when they are lying or telling the truth, as well as investigate crime scenes for clues.   Meanwhile, you can drive around the period setting streets of Los Angeles at your leisure, with a number of different achievements giving you the chance to really explore the digital world that has been created.

This is personally my first video game review, being inspired by the earlier effort from SchmandaRose.   It is fitting, therefore, that the game I choose to review a game that has many filmic qualities, right down to a title that conjures images of classic film noir.   In many ways, the rest of the game also channels this type of story, while being modern enough to have an appeal for a variety of gamers.

I enjoy video games, though by no means would I say I am an expert gamer.   Prior to this only twice before have I unlocked all achievements on an X-Box game, and once before on a PS3 game.   Ironically, the one on PS3 was Heavy Rain, which also plays very much like an interactive film.   I also cheat saying I have unlocked all achievements twice on 360, given that one of those is Dead Rising, and the other was a short prequel for Dead Rising 2, called Case 0.   L.A. Noire has kept me enthralled enough, that I only have one achievement left to unlock…. and given that achievement requires me to go wild and damage everything in sight, I have no doubt I will unlock that one some time tomorrow.

Focusing on this game, it has a fascinating gameplay, with cases that remain interesting throughout.   Apart from the training missions, there are four main case desks to play; Traffic, Homicide, Vice, and Arson.   The cases themselves are very interesting, and for a keen eye they are often connected.   A serial killer storyline ties together almost every case on the homicide desk, and yet even when this desk is completed, there are repercussions for later in the game.   In this sense, the game maintains its filmic quality, and hence maintains for me that type of level of entertainment.

As I mentioned before, the game I would most closely relate this to is Heavy Rain.   In some respects, the graphics quality I found better in the latter, though this is only a face-value assessment.   A lot more effort has gone into developing facial expression in this game, and though the graphics may not be as succinct as on Heavy Rain, the characters are none-the-less more lifelike.    This is vital to gameplay itself, as reading facial expression has a big role to play in the game, when trying to accurately direct a line of questioning in witness and suspect interviews.    It should be noted on this criticism however that I played this game on 360, and I have been informed that the frame rate and graphics quality is much better on the PS3, the native console for Heavy Rain.   Continuing on the graphics theme, period L.A. looks absolutely amazing.   One of the achievements is to locate a number of L.A. landmarks, all beautifully rendered here for the gamers exploration of the city.

I will admit, I did go online to help with a number of achievements.    This is because that a few of these achievements require locating very small items on the map, and one could spend weeks exploring every inch of the city to finally complete every task.    I rarely have that amount of time available, so yes I did cheat.   How to unlock all achievements I leave to the individual, but even going online you still get a good appreciation of the scale and detail with which the city has been recreated.   Purely breathtaking.

All-in-all, a great game, and it deserves all the hype that led up to its release.

4.5 stars out of 5


L.A. Noire trailer [youtube=]

Machete – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Ethan Maniquis, Robert Rodriguez

Cast: Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Lindsay Lohan

Synopsis: Machete originated as a fake trailer that separated the films Death Proof and Planet Terror in the Tarantino/Rogriguez dream project Grindhouse.   Though the experiment failed, a lot of interest was expressed in this fake trailer, which is the story of a Mexican ex-cop, codename Machete (Rodriguez regular Trejo), who was set up to take the fall for an assassination attempt against an anti-immigration senator (De Niro).   What follows in the film is a pure revenge flick that hails back to the exploitation cinema of the 1970s.

A review by Film Nerd.

This film is sickeningly gruesome.   It replaces a meaningful plot for alternate shots of naked women with horrid decapitations.   It is exploitation cinema almost seeming fresh from the 1970s.   The action is so over the top it leaves credibility far behind.   Ans the characters are so thin as to be barely two-dimensional.   In short, it is exactly what the trailer promised, and I loved every second of it.

Shortly before popping the disc into my PS3, I was on the phone with my cousin.   She was familiar with the film from seeing the trailer at a film festival last year.   I believe her exact words in response were “Oh no, you are not really going to watch that are you??”   I then discovered she knew little of the origins of the film, as I have stated them in the synopsis.    The Grindhouse project was a collaboration between Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez to replicate the type of cinema they enjoyed at the drive-in as teenagers in the 70s.   We are talking over-the-top action sequences, old scratched and worn prints, missing reels, the whole lot.   It was intended as a doubler feature, but when audiences did not “get it”, the two films were separated for distribution internationally.   To this day, I still yearn to see Grindhouse as these two unique and visionary directors originally intended.

Grindhouse was not a success, and yet sufficient interest was shown in this fake trailer of Machete, which promised yet another film of the same ilk as Death Proof and Planet Terror. That film is now a reality, and has delivered precisely what was promised.   This is not a film you watch for political commentary on race relations across the Mexico/USA border.   This is no probing police procedural full od political intrigue.   This film is a teenage boys wet dream of physics defying action, violence played for comic effect, and all mixed in with a very healthy dose of bare flesh.   In fact, this entire film perhaps has more nudity than an entire season of True Blood.

This is not a film for a queasy stomach, nor for a thought-provoking experience.   Watch the trailer below and you know the film already.   If the trailer interests you, than this is a 4-star film, as it was for me.   If you can see no redeeming features about this trailer, even with an appreciation of the history of this film, it will barely rate a single star.   I can only give one final rating though, and for me it is thumbs up.

4 stars out of 5.


Machete on IMDB

Machete on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=]