Weekend News Update: Jersey Shore, Men In Black III, Boxing & More

– The Jersey Shore’s Season 2 Premier broke records as the highest rated MTV show in 7 years with almost 6 million viewers on Thursday. Hey – something people CARE about on Thursday!


– While the fiscal numbers for Capcom and Nintendo came in as extremely disappointing, Sega on the other hand shockingly pulled a profit of 7 billion yen, due to their monstrous arcade business. Hilarious that Sega eeks out a win over Nintendo in 2010 – even though they aren’t competitors. 1UP.com has the story here.


– Men In Black III has an official release date of May 25, 2012


– Marquez defeated Diaz last night in their big rematch.


– Congratulations to F4WOnline site founder Bryan Alvarez and Whitney Neugebauer, who were wed last night. Congrats to Lisa Marie Simpson and High St. John Alastair Parkfield – who are scheduled to get married today.


– Sugar Shane Mosley vs. Sergio Mora is scheduled for September 18th in Los Angeles.


– The newest episode of Advanced Macking is up here. Mike Trojan is scheduled to be on this week’s episode of Superfriends. Plus – a new Laidback Gourmet AND Chessboard coming in the next couple of days!


DVD of the Day: Kick-Ass (2010)


Kick-Ass


With no power, comes no responsibility.


The Stats


The Director:  Matthew Vaughn

The Cast:  Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Clark Duke, Nicholas Cage
The Release Date: 2010
The Runtime: 117 Minutes


The Plot

Comic book nerd Dave Lizewski wonders why exactly no one ever tried to be a superhero. So he makes a costume, grabs some weapons and becomes Kick-Ass! But when he enters a world filled with gun-toting vigilantes, gangsters and foul-mouthed deadly little girl… he may have bitten off more than he can chew.

The Lowdown

Kick-Ass is the, err, well, kick-ass movie based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar & John Romita, Jr. Superman. Batman. Spider-Man. All great characters with great movies dedicated to them. (Granted not all of them are great, but still.) But how many of them actually kick ass? Yeah, if Batman actually existed he’d probably make me shit my pants… but there’s still some unbelievability in the character.


Enter: Dave Lizewski. Lizewski is just a kid, he orders his entire costume and weaponry off the internet and he goes out and kicks ass. Well, really… he gets his ass kicked… a lot. And this is exactly what would happen in real life. Regardless, this film takes everything we love about comics and turns it on its head and shows us: “See how ridiculous this is?” But whatever… it’s a hell of a lot of fun.


Dave’s storyline is an ultimate comic geek’s dream. He becomes a super hero, he fights the bad guy… and he gets [the ridiculously smoking hot] girl. At the end of the day, it’s a pretty simple male-fantasy fulfillment storyline. But screw it, so is James Bond. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that.


The supporting cast is awesome. You come for Kick-Ass… but you stay for Hit Girl. Hit Girl is one of the most bad ass characters to come out of movies in the last twenty years. The best part? She’s a 12 year old girl. And what a mouth on this little broad. Hi-fucking-larious.


And of course, how could we forget about Big Daddy? Big Daddy is what would happen is Batman taken to the absolute extreme. Hell, he even runs around with an underage sidekick. The best part is Nicholas Cage’s acting choices. He plays him like a fucked-up Adam West and the results are brilliant.


Kick-Ass gets released on DVD this Tuesday, August 3. Buy it. Don’t rent it. BUY IT. You’ll thank me.

Classic Gaming Retrospective – Mega Man 2

Mega Man 2 box art
Next up in this Mega Man Retrospective is arguably the greatest Mega Man game ever, Mega Man 2. This is the first game in the Classic series to feature eight master robots. These robots were created by Dr. Wily. They’re also some of the most memorable robot masters ever.

Air Man, for example, is the subject of a popular song amongst fans and internet meme enthusiasts, Air Man ga Taosenai (or Can’t Beat Air Man) by a Japanese group called Team.Nekokan. I’m a big fan of this song, myself.

Metal Man is known for his weapon, the Metal Blade, which is one of the best weapons in all of Mega Man. It’s more powerful than the Mega Buster, and it has so much ammo that you can use it for an entire stage and still have enough left to take down a boss at the end.

The soundtrack is also legendary. Wily Castle Stage 1-2 is my absolute favorite music track in all of gaming. On OCRemix.com, Mega Man 2 is the fourth most remixed game on the site. A group called The Megas created an album comprised solely of covers of Mega Man 2 music, along with lyrics for each song that tell the story of Mega Man, Dr. Light, and each of the master robots. The Megas’s album is definitely something worth checking out.

Mega Man 2 had the first jet (Item-2), shield weapon (Leaf Shield), Wily Castle map screen, and the only robot master (Metal Man) to be weak to his own weapon. Hit Metal Man with the Metal Blade during the boss rush, and you can take him out in two hits.

In terms of robot masters, we had Air Man, Metal Man, Crash Man, Flash Man, Wood Man, Bubble Man, Heat Man, and Quick Man. Metal Man was unique in that he wouldn’t attack you until you attack first. Air Man has one of the more difficult stages, second only to Quick Man’s stage which has the insta-kill lasers. Heat Man’s stage has the obligatory disappearing block puzzle, a significant part of which takes place above a pit.

This game has three items you can get from the various bosses, along with their weapons. Item-1 is a platform item that floats upward and disappears after a few seconds. Item-2 is the precursor to Rush Jet, and is quite possibly the base for Proto Jet from Mega Man 9 and 10. Item-3 is a wall-climbing item, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since. It would bounce on the ground until it finds a wall, after which it attaches itself and starts crawling upward.

This is the peak of the Mega Man series. That isn’t to say that the rest have been bad. But everything just came together in this game. Memorable characters, one of the greatest soundtracks in gaming history, awesome gameplay, and overall a great experience.

Review – Inception [2010]

Before I even start on the review for Inception, I just want to say one thing – this film inspired the topic for NEXT WEEK’s Epitome of Randomness #1 – instead of taking up valuable review time talking about how STALE Hollywood has gotten and why people have literally EMBRACED Inception as the saving grace of the 2010 Summer Movie Season, I’m going to save THAT particular topic for next week. But for now, let’s talk Inception.
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Review – Despicable Me [2010]






Now I know what you’re all thinking, “SportsGuy, why the fuck are you reviewing a KIDS movie here on SuperfriendsUniverse.com, “The Epitome of Manliness”? Well, a couple of reasons – first off, because deep down, every single person on planet Earth enjoys a good, intelligent kids movie once-in-a-while (see: Toy Story 3) and if you can’t admit this then you’re just lying to yourself. Finally, it’s my column, so I’ll review whatever the fuck I want – and I’ll be getting Despicable Me out of the way first since this is probably the one you are all LEAST interested in, so I’ll try to make this as short-and-sweet as possible (but feel free to skip ahead to the Inception review if you must…you soulless bastards…kidding!).


Basic Non-Spoiler Plot Summary: The main character, Gru (voiced brilliantly by Steve Carell) is a super-villain extraordinaire who finds himself getting one-upped out of the “super-villain” business (I guess that’s what you would call it, right?) by up-and-coming super-villain Vector (voiced by Jason Segel). So in order to prove that he still has what it takes to hang with the young super-villains of tomorrow, he decides to stage his greatest heist to date – stealing the Moon! However, everything starts going wrong for him when he adopts 3 orphan girls (I will not spoil why this happens as it’s a semi-important plot detail) and they, little by little, start interfering with his super-villain ways, but (as he ponders throughout the rest of the film) it for the better or for the worst?


The Pros: Despite being billed as a kids movie, this is a film that actually, in my opinion, appeals to more than just kids. Why do I think this? Because a lot of the gags in this film would only be understood to teens/adults, as evidenced by MANY of the gags going RIGHT OVER the kids’ heads, and hearing only “mature” laughter during these moments, which I thought was interesting. Also, it’s an entertaining ENOUGH story that it shouldn’t put anyone  below the age of 80 to sleep in the theater. Finally, the performances by many of the cast, especially Steve Carrell, who like I mentioned earlier, pulled off Gru brilliantly, are not to be underestimated. For a kids movie, they (especially Carrell) seemed to put more effort in getting their character across than I have seen in other kids flicks.

The Cons: For a 95-minute running time, the movie did drag at a few points, which shouldn’t happen for a movie that short. Also, I realize that this is a kids movie, so suspension of disbelief is a necessity when viewing these types of films, but some of the stuff being thrown at me I just could not buy. Don’t get me wrong – the movie is smart when it comes to character development in relation to plot, but there were just some scenes (just s few) that I just couldn’t accept. I know that’s just me nitpicking, but that’s only because there could have been a smarter way to write that scene than what was ultimately shown on screen – and you’ll know exactly which scenes I’m talking about when you see them.

Conclusion: Despicable Me is a fun ride that not only kids, but the entire family can enjoy. While the movie drags at certain points, and it may be hard to suspend disbelief with a couple of select scenes, overall it is a smart film with brilliant voice-acting that should not be overlooked. Recommended for all ages.

Final Score: **** (4/5)

P.S. If you have an iPhone or any mobile phone that can receive the Best Buy Movie Mode app, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – sure, all it can do is translate what the minions are saying at the end of the film, but trust me – you get more out of the film that way – a sort of interactive experience to close out the film – plus, a lot of the translations are PRICELESS – and the app is FREE!


Braid review

I will be continuing my Mega Man retrospective. The column on Mega Man 2 will be coming later this week, with the rest being posted once per week. However, I want to have at least one other post on the site per week (unless I get lazy), so that it’s not just all Mega Man for the next ten or more weeks. With that said, here’s my review of Braid.


Braid title screen
Braid
Developed by Number None (XBLA, Windows) and Hothead Games (Mac, PS3)
Published by Number None (XBLA, Windows) and Hothead Games (Mac, PS3)
Platforms: Xbox 360 (via Xbox Live Arcade), PS3 (via PlayStation Network), Windows, Mac


Braid was originally released in 2008 on the Xbox Live Arcade, and in 2009 for Windows, PS3, and Mac. I just recently bought the game for 800 MSP off of the XBLA, which is equivalent to $10 (USD). I know I’m behind on the whole Braid craze, but I was bored and I figured I’d give it a shot.

GRAPHICS: The game looks nice. I might even say it looks really pretty. But I’m not entirely sure this particular art style is a favorite of mine. In many aspects, the game’s art style does resemble a painting. But it just didn’t click with me, and anything else I can say on that would sound like nitpicking. Yeah, the game looks great, but I think it could have been better.

Great look, but not my favorite. 7/10

SOUND: The background music is good, I guess. I honestly didn’t notice it much. But that’s usually what background music is supposed to do, be in the background. The sound effects are pretty standard. Nothing much to say about that. There’s no voice acting. Everything is done via text, which is a bit disappointing, but for an “indie” game it isn’t surprising.

Okay sound effects and a background music that does its job. 8/10

STORY: I… Umm… What? The story told by the text of the books is confusing to say the least. I went online to see if I had missed something, only to find out that the story itself is “open for interpretation,” and that there is no official interpretation of what these books mean. I suppose the one thing in the game that isn’t quite open for interpretation is a line in one of the early books about the Princess running from a monster, and then the final level in which the Princess appears. Other than that, there’s nothing really solid to go with.

A confusing array of story snippets that ultimately have no true foundation. Worst of all, this is by design. 3/10

GAMEPLAY: The game revolves around a series of time manipulation powers. The only power that is universal is the ability to rewind time. Some worlds have their own unique ability. The goal of the game is to collect the puzzle pieces in each level and then complete the jigsaw puzzles for each world. Getting the pieces is a puzzle in its own right, requiring clever use of your abilities and precise timing. Since this is also a platformer, you’ll be required to time jumps and climb ladders. Not all solutions are readily apparent, and I ended up going online for a video to see how I’m supposed to get the piece.

A challenging puzzle platformer. 9/10

OVERALL: With all this said, the game is short. Far too short, in my opinion, to justify its original $15 price tag, and even at $10 it’s still a bit too much for so little. Once you beat the game, there is no replay value whatsoever, unless you like time trials. And you can beat the entire game in about three or four hours. In my opinion, that’s far too short for anything costing more than $5. I can understand the game cost a lot to make, but it’s still too short for the price. On the PC, however, there is a level editor, so you can at least download new, fan-made levels to play. So if you’re going to get it, PC is the way to go. That is, if you can get enough quality fan levels. 7/10

Video – Street Fighter X Tekken Trailer

Well cats and kittens, the first shot in the Namco vs. Capcom war begins with Street Fighter X Tekken, a new kind of Vs. game, debuting with this trailer at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con. But what’s even more bizarre is Pacman chasing Megaman at the end of the trailer. Is that a sign of things to come? Very exciting time…