If you’re a twenty-something, you probably had your fair share of racing video games. Everyone was crazy about Midtown Madness 15 years ago. Five years later, Need for Speed Underground happened. That customization, bro. You could put all the ghetto boyz in shame with your very own ugliest color schemes and modifications beyond your wildest desire. In the age of iPads, all of these things are dumbed down. Using your big-ass tablet as steering is way too much fun and there’s no going back from it. (Who cares about lesser graphics or watered down game play?) Even now whenever a new Need for Speed game is out, first thing most of us are eager is just downloading iOS version. So how can you make this as franchise a Fast and Furious clone and hope for a film series to develop when a good video game film adaptation rarely succeeds?
You do REALISTIC, DARK AND GRITTY of course! I can’t deny, I’m continually one of the worst offenders of realistic, dark and gritty plague. Give me a dark and gritty Pacman which chomps actual people with a half-arsedly explained tech and magical pills, I’m already game. Give me Mario if you want. (Actually, someone already tried this.) Need for Speed just does this. It’s remarkably looks more realistic than all Fast and Furious films with their anti-cgi attitude, there aren’t any SAMBAAA! CHIKA CHIKA!! LATIN!!! hip-hop songs. Only music you’re going to remember is Dylan’s (already a better cover with Hendrix) All Along the Watch Tower cover with more serious tones, win. It’s story? People drive cars. People driver cars recklessly. People die because they drive so recklessly. Cars explode. (For a quick story: I once saw an exploded car when I was six year old. We were going to south for summer vacation. A drunken jackass was overtaking all the cars on the road. He passed us and headed directly to fence on the left and flipped to other side and exploded in seconds. We couldn’t really do anything about it. Boy, talk about traumatic experience. I still remember every scene in slow motion and this is probably why I’m still fascinated with all kinds of explosions)
After Breaking Bad’s fame, Aaron Paul said he carefully inspected what to do next and jumping to a more charismatic blue-collar fuck-up feels quite natural. Not against Dominic Cooper though. That dude (among with my second rather-lesser known favorite Sam Rockwell) nails the fuck outeverything. He kills in Fleming: The Man who Would be Bond (Meh on script, more about it later) he was a unstoppable monster in Devil’s Double and I really would like him as Tony Stark rather than his father. When against Aaron even with less stuff to do with, he OWNS every single scene. Imogen Poots is so quirky and weird, she actually feels like a real life girl. Like one of them girls you ask out and your brain starting the over-analyzing everything she did and you get to yell yourself “Dude, she’s hot. Stop with criticizing her weird actions and enjoy.”
All serious critics are scowling at how the film has nothing but the contempt for the law and police. Ugh, this is a video-game adaptation when you get extra points when totaling police cars. Shut up.
Recommended: If you like cars and action films who take themselves a little too serious.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is really a pretty amazing dude. No, this is not my NOLANITISM talking. (I waited three posts to praise Nolan, well, we still do not know anything about Interstellar. I don’t know anything about Interstellar and I read the actual science paper the film is based on. Anyway, bring on McConaissance.) You really could meh him on now widely forgotten 500 Days of Summer, but the dude rocks after that. His Don Jon already is my all time favorite anti-chick flick, AND HE’S ABOUT TO PRODUCE SANDMAN! LOOKS AWESOME IN SIN CITY 2 TRAILER. GAAH.
His Hitrecord on TV isn’t so popular on the intertubes and I really would like to see more people watching it. It’s basically TV version of his online collaborative website’s fruits. Every episode is given a theme (The Number One, Fantasy, Trash, Space, The Other Side, Games, MONEY and Patterns so far) and a community of artists from all over the world end up creating short films, songs, animations and performances altogether. I didn’t get to yell UGH COMMUNISM to the screen because all of their works are beautiful to look at. Seriously, if you don’t dismiss it for being hipster-ish, all those people really did pull of a great show. Give it a go. (See, that red button he wear on Oscars wasn’t only eccentric fashion choice. Also, I believe everyone wants to see JGL to bang Emma Watson, just like when we wanted to see Hugh Jackman bang Anne Hathaway in Oscars 2009. Not that I want to see them singing in period piece clothes.)
It was so easy to pass The Legend of Hercules especially when you know The Rock’s Hercules: The Thracian Wars is coming up. (It’s adapted from a realistic Hercules comic, so all nerds rejoice) but you cannot pass 300. It’s one of them boy movies you always remember fondly; even if you gasp in terror when you see Michael Fassbender was in it a couple of years later. But the trailer for 300: Rise of an Empire did not click with me; it was looking way too far cash-grabby, especially not reading a single page of Frank Miller’s Xerxes beforehand. Miller’s All-Star Batman and Holy Terror sucks beyond any belief and he is now essentially a crazy dude but Sin City, Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns? You have to give a man his due.
It already has an impressive +$40 Million opening and it’s certainly better than my (low) expectations. Seriously, this film totally works as prequel-parallel-sequel all in one. It is crammed with origin stories, meanwhile nods and still you know what’s going on. Albeit, I really hope some devoted fan creates an ultimate cut with deliberately place the scenes from first one. Blue Spartan (not actually Spartan) guy is likable if you’re not expecting an exact replica of Gerard Butler with lots of shouting and you wonder if you’re going to remember his name after a couple of more works. Xerxes’ backstory is full of campy fun and Eva Green is the ultimate show stopper. Whenever she pops up you can’t focus on anything else besides admiring her. She’s is so badass in here you only get to think “geez shut up already woman” only when Lena Headley’s Queen is on. Okay, we know Eva Green is no stranger to supernatural sex scenes like when she did Johnny Depp in Dark Shadows (blegh on the film, but here’s the link for the scene) but even after you get to see her perfect boobs, you still continue to respect her (One of the perks of writing on your own web site must be how you can say you liked an entire film because of one pair of boobs) That’s something.
Other than Eva Green and out of an action PS3 game fighting scenes, you also get your fun with all the dickish moves of characters even if they lack anything other than one dimensional (Let’s Unite? No. Booo, my husband died. Now I can help. / That’s a trap. I don’t care if it’s a trap. Oooh it was a trap) and they are totally bashing first film’s characters, events and outcomes too.
If you are a fan of mindless carnage, blood and hot chicks (less fancy way of saying if you’re a regular red blooded male) and not waiting for an ageless swords and sandals epic, you won’t leave this film disappointed. You might miss the MUST LISTEN TO THIS AT GYM soundtrack of first one though.
How do you like your humor? Do you think farting on an aborted fetus which also happens to be Nazi and zombie would amuse you? If not, you are already not the audience of the long-running TV series and ALL THE LARP-ing (live action role playing) in this game cannot make you interested. (Played Dungeons and Dragons in high school? Want to see something about LARP? Go watch Role Models again and stay away from Knights of Badassdom. It sucked even with Abed from Community and Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones) But if you ever rabble-rabble-rabble’d with your friends referencing the show and if you’re still in touch with those guys (chances are y’all are still immature pricks) call any of them and give this a weekend or less. Preferably with beer.
Did I say references? THERE ARE REFERENCES EVERYWHERE! Some of them are hard to catch if you’re not a devoted fan; some of them are still hard to catch even if you are a good fan. (I wikied a bunch of them on the go.) I am not arguing if the game gets the role playing game mechanics right or not but if one thing is certain, they somehow distilled 17 years of mythos in one single take. The gameplay is mediocre but taken as an interactive movie it is hilarious. No re-playability. For a game full of absurd shit not enough hidden stuff to explore. No gameplay affecting choices. If you expect a new Skyrim with lots of bodily fluids and crude humor, you only get the latter.
You can find Jesus in this game. You can summon him for spewing hundreds of bullets to your enemies but if you’re not a fan all you’re going to get wtf? expression on your face.
Leonardo DiCaprio should have won the best actor. Wolf of Wall Street should have won the best picture. Martin Scorsese.. you know where I’m going with this. I loved every single controversial second of the Wolf of Wall Street. (with the acceptance of how brilliant dark comedy it actually is) Sure, a lot of people missed “LOOK AT THEM, THEY’RE NOT VERY DIFFERENT THAN COMMON THUGS. THEY WERE COMMON THUGS BEFORE THIS FOR GODSSAKE!” message, with lots of walk out during its release day but it is what it is. Oliver Stone’s Wall Street for young douchebags to aspire for. So it’s not really that hard wanting to live exactly like Jordan Belfort.
This book is the perfect anti-thesis of what the film proudly flaunts. Doing coke out of a stripper’s ass in between work is now a relic of past. We’re living into one financial crisis to another. Everything is occupied and while it is not easy for anyone, it sure as hell is not easy for recent Ivy League grads either. (Look at me, I’m humanizing one percenters) As a legal intern, I’m still having a hard time accepting what to endure for making a little bit more money than people we graduated with, which requires devoting your entire brain cells to work and work only. The survival of fittest on the steroids. Eh, we’re talking about the MECCA of Money. Some of the guys in the book get less than five hours to sleep a day, every day. There aren’t any weekends. New grads are making $70K minimum (+$20-90K end year bonus, depending on how little you fuck your excel spread sheets) in their first year but the rules aren’t so different even in Turkey. I actually know legal interns called to be office on a Sunday evening; (for less than $15K and mind you, most can’t get a yearly salary of $5K but that is entirely different topic) of course it’ll be harder on Wall Street.
Then again, most of the characters are not memorable at all. While the author does his best to flesh out its eight different characters, they still fall flat like South Park characters. A token girl with a doomed to fail long distance relationship, a token black guy, a guy who literally did not know anything about finance before being thrown here and question himself with the tragedy of quarter-life crisis. Yet, I think this further illustrates the point. All of these guys were somewhat interesting in college. Now the real life forcing down their throat they can’t help but whine all over the place. They lose all of their non-finance friends. They can’t meet anyone else. They throw Fashion meets Finance mixers. (which the book hilariously calls as social Darwinism in its purest, most obnoxious form). I also find it funny how all those Ivy Leaguers are all over Tech companies just after David Fincher’s The Social Network. When banks are opposite of sexy, they all act like the cure is in slippers not power suits anymore. At Harvard, percentage of seniors who went directly to financial services fell from 28 percent to 17 percent in last three years. Princeton gets cut by 46 to 36. Well, even my colleagues are half-jokingly suggested to make a mobile application for iOS about anything. What I found a little lame is how the book ends exactly like a young adult TV series. Telling who had quitted their jobs or continue to their struggle with sharpened fangs (and mostly crushed spirits) now. Cry me a river.
Not a literary example (a fast read with short chapters) and VERY focused on its subject but if you ever in need of an antidote for The Wolf of Wall Street, this book is for you.
Definitely recommended: If you are interested in corporate culture. Regardless of your allegiance.