Conceptually this movie seemed like it had intriguing potential. Unfortunately, it ended up just being absurd. That would suggest I hated it but I didn’t. It was bad because of it’s unsatisfying resolution, but some of the disaster scenes are pretty awesome so that makes up for it in parts. I wouldn’t recommend anyone bother with it, but it entertained me.

Nicolas Cage is such a hammy actor, if you’re able to just accept that as the status quo you’ll be okay. If not, this movie will annoy the hell out of you and the ending will only infuriate you more. It was better than Ghost Rider at least…

Three stars.

Gears of War 2

I burned through Gears of War 2 in a short space of time, and was left wondering if the game was too short, or actually just right and all other games were too long.

When you consider that video games can cost over $100 I suppose you really want to be able to get your money’s worth. The problem I have is that often games feel like they’re being padded with repetitive gameplay in order to eek out a few extra hours from you.

Gears of War 2 is lean, you get through the campaign quickly and it feels satisfying without ever being close to tedious. The added advantage is that it has a rich multi-player element which means that once you’ve finished with the campaign (which was at best 8-10 hours) there’s still plenty more to play for.

Gears 2 is pretty much an upgrade of the original – it has all the things that made the first game great and has tried to build upon it. Larger scale battles, sharper graphics, and a few extra combat features. Haven’t touched the multiplayer yet, but the new Horde mode looks promising.

It seems there’s a solid focus on the multi-player aspect, which explains the short single player campaign, and in turn accounts for the majority of the achievements, which meant that after finishing the game I had barely made a dent in the available achievement points – oh well, I’ll just have to jump on Xbox Live and endure getting pWned by some obnoxious 10 year old kids from Nebraska.

Four stars.

Star Trek

I’m too much of a Star Trek nerd to judge this movie objectively. I was never sure what to expect going into this film. Would I be satisfied if it was a good movie, or did it need to be a good Star Trek movie? In the past I’ve been all too aware that the two concepts can easily be mutually exclusive.

It is an entertaining film, done as a big budget action film. It’s designed to appeal to a broad audience, rather than a niche one, and that’s a wise thing to do.  The use of the age old Trek plot device of time travel whose effects create an alternate reality is an elegant way of justifying a whole slew of new Trek related adventures.

More Trek can only be a good thing. Three stars.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Is there really anything cooler than a guy with claws that come out of his fist? I don’t think so. Being a film about Wolverine, all it needed to do was not suck in order to be a good film in my books, and you know what? It didn’t suck.

In some ways this felt less like a movie and more like some kind of Marvel franchise generation tool. When you consider that Wolverine is a more than marketable hero in his own right, the use of “X-Men Origins” in the title smacks of trying to build a brand; one that they can ultimately use on lesser X-Men titles in the future. With plenty of cameos from other future X-Men mutants, and with a nice open ending this movie was like the movie equivalent of a pilot episode. Expect plenty of future instalments of both “Wolverine” and other “X-Men Origins” movies.

Personally, I’m looking forward to a Gambit movie in the near future – hopefully.

Three stars.