Daily Archives: March 10, 2015

Andy Serkis’ Directorial Debut

Production is underway on Andy Serkis’ 3D Jungle Book adaptation, Warner Bros. Pictures announced yesterday. Serkis (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Lord of the Rings films, etc.) will make his feature directorial debut with the film.

Featuring a mix of live-action and performance capture, Serkis’ take on The Jungle Book will explore Mowgli’s human origins.

Mowgli will be performed by child actor Rohan Chand (Lone Survivor), with Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Serkis performing characters in the film, as well.

Jungle Book: Origins is produced by Harry Potter scribe Steve Kloves and Jonathan Cavendish (Elizabeth: The Golden Age), while Nikki Penny (Gravity) will serve as an executive producer.

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Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number Review

Sprawling in both story and level design, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is a more fleshed out, ambitious follow-up to its 2012 predecessor. There are a few truly frustrating moments, but that sense of flow is still here; it’s a relentless, rhythmic, and brutal game of killing fast, and often dying even faster.

Hotline Miami 2’s style is a smooth continuation of the first game. It moves the setting ahead into the grungy ‘90s, but also occasionally whips us back to the mid-’80s in a feverish rollercoaster ride that further unfolds the twisted story. This is a deep dive into an engaging alternate history full of masked fanatics, mobsters, drugs, war, and a few haunting figures from the past. The soundtrack, dripping with nervous synth and a pulsing bass, is even better than the last one; a moodier and more expansive set of tracks merges appropriately with the symphony of door-busting, skull-crunching, and gun firing you’ll create yourself. Like the last game, the music is the fuel that drove me forward into each new challenge – and in Hotline Miami 2, there are plenty.

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Cities: Skylines Review

Much as I prefer to let each game stand on its own, certain games demand comparisons. In the case of Cities: Skylines, developer Colossal Order has overtly modeled its game after SimCity – not just the fundamental concept and methods of building and maintaining a simulated city from the ground up, but much of the look and feel as well. And on almost every count, Skylines compares very favorably to the former standard-bearer of the city-building genre. It is, in fact, the best of its kind to come along in a full decade – a powerful, flexible, beautiful, and all-around impressive simulation that lets you build sprawling, single-player metropolises to your heart’s content. Building has to be its own reward, though, because the lack of random events or disasters leaves the job of running these towns feeling sleepy and meditative.

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Star Wars Rebels: Season 1 Review

Note: Full spoilers for Star Wars Rebels: Season 1 follow.

There was a sense of déjà vu hanging over Star Wars Rebels as it began. Once more, just as with Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Dave Filoni was one of the key architects for a new, ongoing Star Wars animated series, and once more that series was met with a whole lot of skepticism and pre-scorn. Everyone seemed to hate the designs. They said it would be “too kiddy.” They felt there was no way it would feel like, well, Star Wars.

But when Star Wars Rebels began, it quickly set itself apart from The Clone Wars – because it was a lot better.

No, I’m not saying the first season of Rebels was better than what The Clone Wars would become. But comparing their early episodes, Rebels clearly was stronger. Simply comparing the Clone Wars movie to the one-hour Rebels premiere found the latter series was arriving much more fully-formed, confident and energized – and, yes, feeling much more like classic Star Wars.

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