Friday, May 23, 2014

Therapy With Batman: Dawn of Justice

Click to enlarge.

Love Stories with AJ Lee and CM Punk

In honor of CM Punk and AJ Lee's engagement and soon to be nuptials:
 

Come back again for more CM Punk & AJ Lee love stories in the near future. And be sure to watch CM Punk and Daniel Bryan battle for the WWE Championship at the 2012 Money in the Bank pay-per-view with AJ Lee as the special guest referee. It's among the best matches you'll ever see.

Follow @MaximusWrestler on Twitter!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

On Why Killing Dogs In Video Games Is A Problem


The following is a video that questions the validity of the typical dog-enemy encounter featured heavily in the modern first-person shooter video game.

The video highlights two games: Call of Duty: Ghosts and Wolfenstein. The editorial also emphasizes the two ways in which these dog-murders are problematic: they're gratuitous and the sequence is simply bad, unenjoyable gameplay.

There are some who are negatively effected by even staged violence against animals, so be warned before watching this video. It contains gruesome depictions of violence against both man and "his best friend".


For the medium to become more respectable and offer a wider variety of immersive experiences, video game enthusiasts and creators need to reevaluate their consistent need for violence. It is odd that a pastime founded on joy and imagination offers up primarily gruesome violent imagery of death and decay, typically without questioning or subverting that violence. Violence is far too often used in games purely as a means of empowering the gamer, never questioning the gamers' urge to play out simulated mass death.


This aspect of gaming, when applied to innocent animals, becomes even more unpalatable.


This video was constructed using Upload Studio on the Xbox One.

Thank you.

Be sure to follow Maximus on Twitter @MaximusWrestler. He appreciates it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

CHARLIE DAY'S BRILLIANT AND EMPOWERING COMMENCEMENT SPEECH

FX's It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia via giphy.com

Charlie Day, famous for playing Charlie on FX's successful comedy series It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, recently gave a commencement speech at his alma mater, Merrimack College.

It is the best commencement speech I've ever heard, and proposes a life-affirming philosophy that will benefit young and old alike.

The speech is consistently funny and wholly insightful. There are several highlights, but perhaps the most powerful moment comes in the conclusion, when he explains the anxiety he experienced before giving the speech:
And the Youtube comments, oooooh the world of snarky comments we've been living in. Perhaps that's the most terrifying thing of all. That what we do now is permanent. But I didn't back out, I'm here speaking to you today. And I know I will be judged by all those who care to watch on youtube, and compare, but my lesson is this: I don't give a shit!
 
Now listen up, you cannot let a fear of failure, or a fear of comparison, or a fear of judgment stop you from doing what's going to make you great. You cannot succeed without this risk of failure. You cannot have a voice with the risk of criticism. And you cannot love without the risk of loss. You must go out and you must take these risks. Everything I'm truly proud of in this life has been a terrifying prospect to me...none of it comes easy. And people will tell you to do what makes you happy. But a lot of this has been hard work. And I'm not always happy.
 
And I don't think you should do what just makes you happy, I think you should do what makes you great....
 
...you do not have to be fearless. Just don't let fear stop you.
Enjoy the rest here:


Thank you, Charlie.

For this speech, kitten mittens, and all the rest.

The cream always rises to the top.


via fanpop.com
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BATMAN VS SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCED


Nerds rejoice! Warner Bros. has officially titled the Batman Superman film “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice” with principal photography starting today in Detroit.

The movie obviously stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, and Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, with Zack Snyder directing. Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane are all returning from “Man of Steel,” Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred, and Holly Hunter. The film is written by Chris Terrio, from a screenplay by David S. Goyer. As if none of you reading this blog would know all this.

Production will take place in Detroit as well as areas around Illinois; Africa; and the South Pacific. Film is set to bow May 6, 2016.

Bring it!


NEW BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT GAMEPLAY TRAILER WILL BLOW YOUR MIND!


One of the most impressive video game trailers ever has officially arrived.

Feast your eyes on this heart-stopping, beautiful Batman: Arkham Knight gameplay trailer!


Batman: Arkham Knight is scheduled to release on October 14th, 2015, and that date can't arrive fast enough.

We'll keep you updated on all the latest news and videos for The Dark Knight's latest video game adventure.


Be sure to follow @MaximusWrestler for all the latest entertainment news and reviews.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

MY TOP TEN: SONGS

Image via lesserphotography.wordpress.com

I've never felt more alienated than when people talk about music, both in reality and in film.

Typically, when characters on-screen talk about their shared love of lesser known musical artists, or artists from a bygone era, it showcases how hip and cool the characters are and allows like-minded viewers to partake in a sense of superiority; as if knowing every Gordon Lightfoot or Joan Baez song by heart makes them more intelligent (that's not a dig against those brilliant artists. It's a dig against hipster jerks who have lost all sense of reality as they bask in their trust-funded Brooklynite mason-jar-filled heaven).

I actually quite like this song, but this is one of the most pretentious movies ever made.

The truth is you can't help what you were exposed to growing up, and you can't help what your soul gravitates toward - snobs and non-snobs alike. My soul always gravitated more towards movies and video games.

So a music snob, I am not.

Friday, May 16, 2014

EDITORIAL: HOW RANKED PLAYLISTS CAN REVITALIZE THE HALO FRANCHISE


Earlier today 343 Industries announced that Halo 5: Guardians will release in the fall of 2015!

There's no announcement-trailer yet or details about gameplay, and while 343 and Microsoft remain coy about "the future of Halo", even the mere mention of a new Halo game is cause for celebration for diehard fans of the series.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Report: Microsoft Details Some Big Changes To Xbox One


Microsoft has released a detailed statement and video outlining the future of Xbox One, and the improvements gamers can expect in the coming months.

Firstly, those gamers who want the option to buy an Xbox One without a Kinect will finally get what they've been clamoring for.


Beginning June 9th, Microsoft will begin selling an Xbox One bundle that doesn't include Kinect for $399 (Kinect-included bundles will still exist).

The Kinect will be sold, in the fall, as a separate peripheral for those who eventually decide they would like to experience the features it offers. Those gamers who own a console without Kinect will still have access to features like "Snap" and app-switching. The only thing Kinectless Xbox One owners won't be able to do is utilize voice commands, play Kinect specific games like Kinect Sports: Rivals, or utilize Kinect specific features in Kinect-enabled games.

While the Kinect is an integral bit of tech to the overall Xbox One experience, this is a great and logical option to provide consumers, and it also demonstrates that the typically stalwart and even aloof Microsoft is listening to their fans.


Games With Gold for Xbox One is also coming in June. Thus far the much-maligned program meant to compete with PlaystationPlus has been exclusive to 360. But starting in June gamers will get two free games a month that they will be able to download and play on their next-gen consoles. Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood and Halo: Spartan Assault will be the first games made available.


The most significant news for current Xbox One console owners is that discounts to current games are coming. At the moment, the Xbox One store is somewhat sparse and every game is full price. Starting in June, titles will receive weekly discounts just like the games on Xbox 360, and there will even be "a virtual VIP room exclusive to Xbox Live Gold members where (Microsoft) will feature free games, monthly deals, and other great benefits".

Entertainment apps like Hulu and Netflix will no longer require an Xbox Live Gold subscription to function as well.

These are significant changes to Microsoft's model with the Xbox One, and it comes just in time for E3 where the company can reshape public perception and establish their vision for the future.

Does this news make you likelier to buy an Xbox One? Comment below and follow @MaximusWrestler for any and all games news and reviews!

A GUT REACTION: FIRST IMAGE OF BEN AFFLECK AS BATMAN


HOLY SH*T.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

8 Stunning Screenshots From Batman: Arkham Knight

 

Batman: Arkham Knight is the eagerly anticipated Arkham City sequel scheduled to release on October 14th, 2014 for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Windows.

Check out the trailer if you haven't already watched it twenty times!

The following is a series of still images captured from actual gameplay. The attention to detail is staggering. Arkham Knight's Gotham is supposedly five times the size of the Arkham City map, and features wider, more open streets designed to allow players to navigate via the imposing Batmobile.

Chicks dig the car.

Set one year after the events of Arkham City, Gotham has been overtaken by many of Batman's greatest nemeses. The citizens have been forced to evacuate the city due to the threat of The Scarecrow's fear toxin, and such has left Batman, and the police, in a crime-ridden city quickly descending into chaos.

Rocksteady is clearly making every effort to go out on a high note for their final installment in the Arkham series, even creating an original villain, The Arkham Knight, who poses Batman's greatest challenge yet.

The Arkham Knight. Rocksteady's original contribution to the Batman mythology.

All of the following screenshots come courtesy of www.BatmanArkhamKnight.com

Clearly, this is the Batman game we need right now.

Enjoy!

(Click to enlarge).

Gameplay has been built around the Batmobile. The infamous vehicle is available at the push of a button. Players can also eject into a controlled glide at will, offering multiple, thrilling ways to navigate the city.

The bat-suit is a shocking technological evolution of the previous iterations, crafted to reflect the armored, monstrous Batmobile.
 
The implications of this simple screenshot are incredibly exciting. Might we start missions by traveling to the roof of the GCPD after noticing the Bat Signal in the sky?

The Arkham Knight. His suit of armor is reminiscent of The Dark Knight's. Only he's not averse to using firearms.

The sprawling gothic metropolis never looked better. Batman's communications with Oracle have apparently received a futuristic hologram makeover.

Quite possibly the most impressive of these screenshots, this not only gives a sense of how massive this next-gen Gotham is, but demonstrates the increased attention to detail and realism of Batman's cape.


Shockingly beautiful. Batman just being all Batman.


Batman pimps away from the Batmobile.

Thanks for reading/having a gander.

Have a good day, and keep trying to make yourself more than just a man.

Follow @MaximusWrestler for all your amazing Bat-related news.

Friday, May 9, 2014

NBC Renews Hannibal!


Hannibal, NBC's gothic horror drama based on the Thomas Harris Hannibal Lecter novels, has been renewed for a third season.

Commence culinary puns.


The show has suffered from consistently low ratings on Friday nights despite much-deserved critical acclaim and a rightfully passionate fanbase. The show faced a similar "will they/won't they" fate after the first season, but continues to hang on due in large part to its international co-financing. It is a low monetary risk for NBC, and the network is in dire need of quality content. If the show ever does get abruptly cancelled, it's likely it will be picked up by another network or digital streaming company like Netflix, however.

The television landscape has significantly changed in recent years. Low ratings are not necessarily an indication of a show's popularity. People aren't watching TV the way they used to: they have Hulu, Netflix, iTunes, and DVR to name a few digital outlets, and all one need do is surf the internet for a little while to see that Hannibal is a much-beloved series.


Hannibal has been consistently excellent, subversive, and entirely unique. It is truly unlike anything on television today. While, on the outside, it might appear to be a simple, shock-value procedural, a cheap gore-fest, it is a deeply psychological drama that's less "monster of the week" in structure and much more episodic.

Like The X-Files it is one of the only television shows that's actually frightening. Well-known for its shocking depictions of procedural violence, the show brilliantly manages to walk a fine line between sensationalism and beauty. The show establishes early on that the occasionally "hard-R" gore is a necessary part of the psychological aesthetic, eloquently avoiding gratuity.

In context, this is actually the result of three, completely-crafted psychologies over the course of several episodes.
The excellent writing and increasingly (and suitably) strange narrative is supported by a cast that includes Hugh Dancy as Will Graham, Lawrence Fishburne as Jack Crawford, and Mads Mikkelsen as the good Dr. Lecter.


Each episode is akin to a forty-minute film that contributes to a larger thirteen hour saga, offering a level of depth, quality, and sincerity not often seen on network television. Bryan Fuller, the series showrunner, has managed to write dialogue that gives occasional nods to the Harris novels and the Hannibal films, even some ironic wordplay and puns with regard to Hannibal's cannibalistic ways, without sacrificing authenticity or dipping too far into fan-service. Such winks surprisingly add depth to the proceedings, played straight by the actors, but presenting a kind of alternate, decidedly stranger Hannibal-universe to those familiar with the character.


And then there's Mads Mikkelsen, whose Hannibal is a monster all his own that doesn't even inspire comparisons to Anthony Hopkins. Both exist independently of the other, stamping their own take firmly into pop-culture.

Being gifted with a weekly performance by Mikkelsen (best known in America for playing a Bond-villain in Casino Royale) is like watching Al Pacino or Robert DeNiro every week on television in their prime. He offers a marvelous performance in each episode, sculpting a vicious character that incorporates everything Lecter fans love, while exploring previously unseen depths of the cannibal's ethics and amorality.


In this series we see the relationship between Hannibal and Will Graham that we never got on the big screen, and it is a dark, twisted interpretation that occasionally dares to be heartwarming, even sensual.


Hugh Dancy's occasionally over the top, but endearing and wholly committed portrayal of Graham is unlike any other protagonist on television - his primary conflict, and his "super power" being that he is too empathetic. That might sound silly on the page, but when you watch it, and remain open-minded, you will see how Graham is a wonderful and decidedly different main character that showcasing the best in humanity.

This is a show about emotionality above all, and what it is that makes us do the wonderful and terrible things we do.


The second season is wrapping up soon.

Currently Fuller only has rights to the characters in Red Dragon, but with any luck he will eventually secure the rights to Silence of the Lambs, and if NBC continues to support the show then this grim and beautiful depiction of Hannibal the Cannibal will live on.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Gotham Looks Good! New Trailer For Fox's Upcoming Batman-Inspired Series

 

Ever since I first heard that Fox was working on a Batman-themed television series, I've been excited.

Television is arguably the best live-action visual medium for recreating comic books due to their serial nature. And while some have had their misgivings about a Batman show that doesn't have Batman in it (especially after the Birds of Prey debacle), the casting choices and the focus upon fan-favorites like Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock always kept me optimistic.


The trailer for the series, titled Gotham, premiered tonight, and I'm happy to report that it looks every bit as promising as I'd hoped.

You can watch the trailer by clicking here.


If the trailer is any indication, the show seems to draw from a variety of stylistic influences (both comics and films), namely Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy (the tracking Gotham City helicopter shots are particularly evocative of Nolan's ultra-realistic stamp on the Batman-mythos).


There's also a dash of the earlier Tim Burton Batman films, all the while establishing its own brooding aesthetic.

Possibly my favorite shot in the entire trailer because it's the most Burtonesque.
The trailer is cut in such a way to purposefully highlight the adult-nature of the content, that this will be an hour long drama that dares to take the content seriously, and portray Gotham as a violent warzone riddled with crime (the cut to an obligatory sex-scene between Gordon and his wife or mistress is obviously unnecessary, but it is a modern television show after all).

There's a surprising amount of blood in the trailer. Unsurprising as television has been pushing violent content incredibly far these days on shows like NBC's Hannibal and Fox's The Following. And it's also a not-so-transparent way of silencing naysayers fearful that the show will tread lightly.
Common, and always welcome, Batman-themes revolving around fear, altruism, mourning, and moral righteousness will obviously play a part of the series, highlighted in scenes of dialogue between a young Bruce and the new Gotham Detective Gordon.


While the lighting and cinematography and the tone certainly looks & feels like television and less like film (and while some of the performances seem to be a bit hammier than others) it's exciting that we'll see these iconic characters (even a young Bruce, Catwoman, Riddler, Penguin, and Poison Ivy) portrayed on a weekly basis for at least one full season (it was announced today that it was picked up for a full order).

Poison Ivy!
I'm actually a bit surprised to see how present the Bruce Wayne character is in the trailer actually.


The prospect of watching Bruce's bond begin with James Gordon long before either become Dark Knight or Commissioner could really lend depth and sincerity to the show. And if the series ever does advance further in the timeline (seems like a time-jump is already a brilliant idea for future seasons), with Bruce eventually donning cape and cowl, the significance of that dramatic shift in their friendship will be all the more powerful due to the serialized structure and the fact that we will have witnessed the gradual evolution.


It looks to be a blend of Smallville, Hannibal, Law & Order, and Batman.

And that's certainly not a bad thing.


The show is scheduled to premier this Fall on Fox and stars Ben McKenzie (Jim Gordon), Sean Pertwee (Alfred), Donald Logue (Bullock), and Camren Bicondova (Selina Kyle) to name a few.

Be sure to come back to The Future Machine for some Gotham-reviews when the show finally drops through the proverbial skylight.

Thanks for reading, and keep fighting the good fight.

via comicbookmovie.com

Remember to follow on Twitter @MaximusWrestler, and come back soon for all the latest news and reviews.

Same Bat-Time. Same Bat-Channel.