New In Review: Mortal Kombat

So I mentioned back in my Sonic the Hedgehog review that there’s a long-held belief that movies based on video games generally suck, and there is credence to this as seen in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, the sequel to the surprise 1995 hit Mortal Kombat. Since then adaptations of the violent, yet popular fighting game series have had a huge hill to climb up. And not just battling the preconceptions on video game movies but from all the controversies in the game’s franchise itself. Whether it be the long history the series has with gore and violence, the inconsistencies in the last few games’ storytelling and lore or NetherRealm Studio’s harsh work schedule and drive to make the game’s violence even more hardcore which led to developers being diagnosed with PTSD.

But how does this movie compare? Well….Spoilers are to follow.

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New In Review: Dota: Dragon’s Blood

Dota: Dragon’s Blood is an American animated series on Netflix and animated by Studio Mir, it’s based on Valve’s Defense of the Ancients series. It features the voice talents of Yuri Lowenthal, Laura Pulver, Troy Baker, Alix Wilton Regan, Freya Tingley, Kari Wahlgren, Josh Keaton Dee Bradley, JB Blanc, Anson Mount and Tony Todd.

Now I know very little about Valve’s series, which as I discovered began as a mod to the Warcraft series, so instead of focusing on whether the show was an accurate representation of the games I instead decided to see if the show could be an engaging fantasy story. The end result was…mixed.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Fulfilling the need for community.

Today marks the one year anniversary of the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and there’s a lot I, like many others, didn’t expect when it came to this game. I certainly didn’t expect to feel the need to play this everyday after I got it. I didn’t expect it to become as of this writing, the second best-selling game on the Switch and the second-best selling game of all time in Japan. I never thought I would own a game from the Animal Crossing series and I certainly didn’t expect to love playing this as much as I have.

Of course, no expected that we’d be stuck in a world-wide lockdown due to a global pandemic either. But success is often measured by opportunity and that’s where this game shines. Because for over a year it’s given players opportunities they’d never have dreamed of.

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New In Review: Zach Snyder’s Justice League

Zach Snyder’s Justice League is retelling of the 2017 film of the same name and as the title implies is fully directed by Zach Snyder. It stars the cast from theatrical release alongside Ray Porter, Peter Guinness, Karen Bryson, Zheng Kai, Kiersey Clemmons, Harry Lennix, Willem Dafoe and Jared Leto.

Long story short, due to personal reasons Zach Snyder had to step away and the original film was completed by Joss Whedon. The film then went through massive rewrites and reshoots to try and brighten the film, which consequently led to many saying that released film has a massive tone problem. A fan campaign put the pressure on Warner Bros. to release the film as originally envisioned by Zach Snyder, thus leading to this.

But just having scenes that were cut from the theatrical release, a consistent tone, and original vision doesn’t make the film, you know, good.

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New In Review: Coming 2 America

Coming 2 America, directed by Craig Brewster, is the sequel to the John Landis 1988 comedy Coming to America and stars Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. The film also features the return of Shari Headley, Paul Bates, John Amos, Louie Anderson and James Earl Jones from the first film. Newcomers include Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Kiki Layne, Bella Murphy, Akiley Love, Teyana Taylor, Rotimi, Nomzamo Mbatha and Wesley Snipes. And cameos. Lots of cameos.

The story picks up thirty years after the original and Prince Akeem of Zamunda (Murphy) is facing new problems, though he has settled down nicely with his wife Lisa (Headley) and has raised three talented and intelligent daughters (Layne, Murphy and Love), Zamundan tradition states that only a male heir ascend to the throne. After learning that he accidentally fathered a son during his trip to New York, Akeem returns to Queens alongside his friend and confidant Semmi (Hall) in order to seek out his potential heir and prevent conflict with Zamunda’s neighbor Nexdoria led by General Izzi (Snipes).

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New In Review: Judas And The Black Messiah

Judas and the Black Messiah is a biographical drama directed by Shaka King and stars Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton, Chairman of the Black Panther Party and founder of the Rainbow Coalition. It costars Lakeith Stanfield as Bill O’Neal, a criminal recruited by the FBI to act as an informant within the Black Panther Party. It also stars Jesse Plemmons as FBI agent Roy Mitchell, Dominique Fishback as Deborah Johnson, Ashton Sanders as Jimmy Palmer, Darrell Britt-Gibson as Bobby Rush, Algee Smith as Jake Winters, Jermaine Fowler as Mark Clark and Martin Sheen as J. Edgar Hoover. Fair Warning, the following review will list actual, historical events so if you don’t to be spoiled you might not want to continue reading.

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New In Review: Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984 is the latest film in the the DC Extended Universe. Directed by Patty Jenkins it stars Gal Gadot, Kristin Wiig, Pedro Pascal, Connie Neilsen, Robin Wright, Stuart Milligan and Chris Pine. In this film Wonder Woman, going under the alias of Diana Prince has been living among humanity for decades now and still heartbroken from losing her boyfriend Steve Trevor from back in World War I. But when a mysterious stone seemingly resurrects him through her wish she finds others who also want this power, some for dubious reasons.

Now I haven’t officially reviewed the first Wonder Woman film as it predates this blog, I did make mention of it in my Aquaman review, which feels like ten years ago. Specifically how it tripped over its own message at the end of the film. Does this one do the same or have they learned from past mistakes? Well….

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New In Review: Soul

Soul is the latest animated film by Pixar and directed by Pete Doctor and Kemp Powers; it features the voice talents of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Questlove, Daveed Diggs, Phylicia Rashad, Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alice Braga and Angela Bassett.

The story revolves around a New York middle school band teacher Joe Gardner (Foxx) who while has strong aspirations for playing jazz on stage and plenty of talent, finds circumstances constantly getting in the way. When a chance arrives to play the big time, life or rather the sudden end of it gets in the way once more. Not ready to pass into the Great Beyond he escapes and ends up in the Great Before, a surreal place where young souls prepare for life on Earth. There he meets up with a dispassionate soul called 22 (Fey) who has purposely skipped out on being born due to lack of interest in what life has to offer. From there he tries to come up with a plan to use 22’s help to return to his body and make it back to the biggest gig he could imagine.

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Season Review: The Mandalorian Season 2

The Mandalorian returns with another eight episode season for Disney+ and continues the journeys of the titular Mandalorian Din Djarin (Pedro Pascale) and his protectorate Baby Yoda (officially called The Child, but no one really calls him that) across the galaxy. It also stars Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Ming-Na Wen, Giancarlo Esposito, Katee Sackhoff, Rosario Dawson and Temuera Morrison.

Spoilers are to follow.

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