Entertainment Grab Bag

by Jinryu

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
I hope I got the title right. This movie was pretty fun. It’s probably one that you want to see in theatres, because it’s bombastic and loud and in your face. I’d say pretty much anyone would enjoy this. It’s not as clever as the first one I find, but you won’t be dissapointed, and it’s a solid choice.

Red Dog
This is an Australian made movie that’s now out on DVD, but if you can find it, this is a great movie to watch. You can look up the trailer on Youtube. This is a movie I’d definitely recommend.

Final Fantasy XIII
I finished this game just this morning, and I have a few comments. Overall, I’d say it’s a pretty solid RPG.
Pros: The look of this game is amazing. FMVs are nothing short of Advent Children quality animation, and that includes incredible fight choreography. The battle system is really something quite awesome. I felt it’s somewhat of a simplified cross of FFXII and FFXI. Maybe it’s because I’ve been playing so much weiqi lately though that I feel that the system in FFXIII is really similar– you have to set up “paragidms” of battle strategies. You don’t necessarily need to use individual “Fire” or “Cure” or “Protect” spells anymore, because the game is semi-automatic (you can assume full control if you want, but it’s usually in your favour to use semi-auto mode instead). I mean semi-automatic in the sense that your main job during battles will be to select the strategy of your team, rather than to micromanage every action of them.

Cons: The game is dreadfully linear. The first 10 hours of this game is basically you in slightly interactive movie– you mostly go forward, watch an FMV, go forward, rinse, repeat. That’s probably not entirely bad, because the battle system takes a lot of working up to get used to (and in the end, it’s the part I liked the most about the game). However, it feels like endless grinding at times. The game also lacks any hidden humour of previous FFs. It also lacks a lot of the hidden sidequests that really gave you a feel for the worlds in previous FF games. Overal, I’d say the problem with FFXIII is that it’s too straightforward. Sure it looks great, and the characters do have rather fleshed out ideas– but at the same time, the characters developments are rather piecemeal, and there isn’t nearly enough connection to the world.

Verdict: If you’re an FF fan, you can get through this without hating it. If you’re not a fan, you can just as easily skip it. It’s not as hard as other FFs I find, it really walks you through hand in hand (sometimes too much).

Dexter: Season 4
This is one of the few television serieses that I find gets better and better. My interest in Dexter first began because it really was original– and it addressed on some level a lot of ideas I had running in my head that I thought but never said out loud. The main thing about Dexter is that it isn’t a cop show– what drives the series is that it’s basically a bildungsroman, albeit with a serial killer as a dark hero. The show isn’t about the murders, it’s about Dexter, socially impaired, learning to be a human. And each passing season, you really get a sense of that. The people who I know who don’t like Dexter though accusingly point at me as a sociopath though. Take it or leave it I suppose! But in an odd way, I find Dexter to be a really heartwarming show.

This movie is based on a Korean comic book. I can’t remember the name of the main actor, but he plays Chaucer (the herald) in A Knight’s Tale. Which was a great movie. Priest, on the other hand, is a terrible movie. Just avoid this one. It’s a waste of time.

The Rite
This is another movie about the forces of good vs evil. This is another waste of time.