Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

A new movie continues a timeless tradition.

Director: Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones trilogy)
What I Expected: Hopefully an Indiana Jones film that lives up to standards without overmodernization.
What I Got: An Indiana Jones film that lives up to standards and delivers to new viewers and old fans alike.
Appeals To:
Old Indiana Jones fans and anyone who absolutely has not yet seen Indiana Jones.

When talking about a loyal-to-source classic such as this film, the only bad thing about the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is feeling like an old man talking about it. The last Indiana Jones film that was released was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade back in 1989 when I was a kid, back when VHS tapes were the way to go. It might not be hard to fathom a generation that does not know about the Indiana Jones films now that it’s 19 years later. It’s hard to talk about the American Film Institutes’s #2 Movie Hero of All Time without feeling like an old man. That being said, for some things it’s worth showing your age, and the Indiana Jones films are some of them – because if you haven’t seen Indiana Jones in action, you haven’t seen the quintessential action-adventure film.

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Game Review: Dead Rising

I’ve never been too in love with sandbox games, as I found that the ability to do everything came at the price of not actually being able to do everything. The games were usually too busy with pointless sidequests, sporting a barebones, lackluster story that was trying not to motivate you too hard with hope that the player defines his own experience. Like the horror movie, however, all things are remedied once you throw zombies into the fray. It is the simplistic endeavors of the undead coupled with the dark humor and powerful motivation that makes Dead Rising a success.

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The Crumbling Sandcastle: Is a Sandbox Always the Better Solution?

The popularity of sandbox games – games where the player is free to play while ignoring major goals or missions – is on the rise. With huge new titles such as Grand Theft Auto IV, Oblivion, The Witcher, and Mass Effect, players are given a bigger role when it comes to playing games: they have the freedom of doing what they want, when they want, as they like. Or do they? Players are actually more limited than they think in a sandbox game, and in someways moreso than some more linear games. One must ask if all this freedom is necessarily better. There are still many successful games that give a clearly defined mission-per-stage.

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Restaurant Review: KatsuHama

11 E47th Street, Between 5th and Madison (B, D, F, V to Rockefeller Center)
Dinner Entrée, Drink, Tax and Tip: About $20

Arguably, the most talked-about Japanese food is sushi. Highly debated, some love and others hate raw fish, while the rest are just too afraid or close-minded to even bother trying. However, Japanese food isn’t solely (no pun intended) about the uncooked fish, or the additionally common order of teriyaki. Katsu-Hama glorifies one of Japan’s less praised dishes – katsu.

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Movie Review: Feast

A well-written plot sets Feast apart from the other gross horror-borers.

Director: John Gulager
MPAA Rating: Not Rated (Director’s Cut from original R)
What I Expected: A horror film that promises what all horror films promise.
What I Got: A horror film that’s surprisingly well written.
Appeals To: Horror movie fans and anyone who appreciates a good laugh and plot twists.

I admit that horror films are the one area where I am truly biased. I give horror films a bad rap, but that’s because most horror films insult me – they put me in some far out premise that some lamely designed mythical beast or serial killer with some quirky and campy gimmick is going to kill me if I act like a moron teenager. A horror film is supposed to scare me, and most of them don’t. Feast didn’t scare me, but I still credit it for its viscerally unique story.

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Movie Review: Serenity

This movie has wonderfully surprising moments.

Director: Joss Whedon (Firefly)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (sequences of intense violence and action, and some sexual references)
What I Expected: An interesting sci-fi film with a quirky cast.
What I Got: An interesting and well-written sci-fi film with a quirky cast and excellent action sequences.
Appeals To: Firefly fans, sci-fi afficionados, action fans.

If you haven’t seen the trailer to Serenity, you’d be doing yourself a favor not to. It unfortunately compacts a number of scenes which are supposed to be surprises into a thirty second clip, and it still doesn’t do justice to what this movie has in store for you. Just take it from me when I say this movie brings you a number of charming surprises while delivering an intriguing plot and exciting action sequences.

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Movie Review: Iron Man

Hands down the best Marvel movie out there.

Director: Jon Favreau (Zathura, Elf)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and brief suggestive content)
What I Expected: A typical, mediocre-at-best, predictable Marvel movie.
What I Got: A Marvel movie that felt like the first candid attempt at proper cinema.
Appeals To: Iron Man fans, action movie fans, Robert Downey Jr. fans, and anyone who wants to watch a fun blockbuster movie.

We’ve all done it. We watched the quality of the X-Men films degrade, then we watched the quality of Spider-Man films degrade. We watched other Marvel legends such as Daredevil, The Incredible Hulk, Electra, and Ghost Rider grace the silver screen only to leave the theater – or your couch – knowing you’ll never have those two hours of your life back but wishing you can at least forget the movie ever existed. The better ones were based on the more popular franchises, and in hindsight were popcorn flicks. They were enjoyable while they were hot, but you probably only cared enough to watch the DVD once. When I saw the Iron Man previews, I smirked to see them, but I went into the theater with the same skepticism I hold for Marvel films as I do for most blockbusters.

Then here comes a knight in shining red-and-gold armor with a missile launcher in his cuirass to blow that premonition to soldering, smoky shards.

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