Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Order: 1886... More Like Odor

The Order: 1886 was one of this year’s most anticipated games of 2015 but unfortunately just like the trailer of a movie, it looks good but delivers poorly. This game should be considered a real heart breaker because visually, this game was breath taking with the incredible attention to detail and from the sound in the backgrounds such as rain and voices to the bang in the weapons. The gameplay is very complicated starting and it’s due to the beauty of the cut scenes because the gameplay looks almost exactly like you’re watching a cut scene. You have to keep your eyes open because once it goes into 3rd person view, it’s time to rock and roll.

That leads to another problem in the form of not rock and rolling enough. There are 15 chapters in this game and it only feels like you actually play in ten of them but in those ten chapters, there’s a lot of time with cut scenes. Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with that as long as the story was captivating and that just wasn’t the case in this game. In the story you follow Sir Galahad, a knight of The Order which in fact dates back to the time of King Arthur with the Supreme Leader being an original knight of the round table. Already this sounds far-fetched but the game rebounds by explaining why the knight has been around for hundreds of years and the explanation is, the Holy Grail.

Each knight carries a vial around their neck while in the course of the game if you’re injured and near death, you drink from the vial and are healed. Now why exactly was this order fighting against? Pretty much the classic monsters, Lycans or werewolves but vampires are thrown in for some reason and it sucks because you don’t fight them. This is mostly a game about fighting Lycans and Jack the Ripper is thrown in there like the vampires. Mostly for name’s sake more than actually having anything to do with the story.

One good name that was thrown in the game was Nikola Tesla, the famous scientist that is in actuality working and creating weapons for the order. The arrangement of weapons was good with guns ranging from shotguns to automated rifles and various handguns. For the time you actually get to use these weapons, the action is fluent and so are the kill shots when you’re fighting Lycans or regular people. Why would you be fighting regular people? You’ll have to play the game and find out but I would wait till it’s on sale at GameStop or offered for free on the PlayStation Network. Don’t worry, you shouldn’t have to wait long because I don’t see this game being worth $60 for long.

This game is visually phenomenal but like the old saying goes, if you polish a turd it’s still a turd. This game is a 5 out of 10 because the story went in too many directions and it felt like watching a movie on Netflix. You’re watching more of the game instead of actually participating in it so already my attention is gone and for those who wonder if there will be a sequel. This game ends in such a way that it almost has to because even though the game was horrible, it left too many elements unchecked. Hopefully with the sequel they’ll actually let you play the game more than watch it.

Between Myth and History: Florida Renaissance Festival

Between Myth and History: Florida Renaissance Festival, that’s the name of the documentary that I’ve been involved with as the narrative writer. After a long process endured by Humaya Films production crew, the premiere happened on Wednesday February 25th at Cinema Paradiso in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Since I was involved with the film, I can’t give a fair critique so what I will do is explain why this film is worth everyone’s attention. The reason this film was created in the first place is to show the patrons that come every year exactly what goes on behind the scenes. To shine the light on the people that live multiple lives, endure harsh struggles and yet somehow find a way to make magic happen by bringing the past into the present.

I was approached by the director of the film, Vivian Orozco whom is also very involved in the Florida Renaissance Festival and had previously read my work. Realizing the unique opportunity offered to me, I jumped into untested waters as I’ve never worked in Non-Fiction. It was a challenge for a short time but thankfully I worked with a director that knew what she wanted and worked with a crew that knew how to support each other. At the end of it all, the film came together beautifully as it received a standing ovation by the crowd that came to see it at the premiere. A crowd that was grateful to see a film that showed what makes the Florida Renaissance Festival so special.

It shows the importance of Quiet Waters Park which is where the Florida Renaissance Festival occurs in Deerfield, Florida. An area of the park that may just seem like dirt and trees but is in actuality the most important site in Deerfield. A site where people come to at the beginning of the year to forget about the problems of modern times and enjoy a time that was more simplistic and inspiring. It’s brought together by a group of hard working individuals that build sets that performers need to entertain the patrons. The performers, who are the backbone of the festival and deserve much appreciation for the sacrifices they make to be involved.

These are wonderful people who show tremendous dedication to their craft in order to make the patrons feel as though they are back in time. Dedication in the form of attending every rehearsal, practicing in their spare time and building props accurate to the time period. From getting every detail in the jewels of the crown to the beads and threads of the outfits, nothing is left unchecked. These are people who have families, other jobs, and the same struggles that we all have in modern times and yet they still find the time to put on some of the most entertaining shows of the year. Shows that leave you laughing, smiling and making you want to come back for more because this is entertainment you can only receive at this event.

An event brought to Deerfield every year by Bobby Rodriguez Productions that started the Florida Renaissance Festival over twenty years ago. Now it’s one of the biggest attractions every February and March. The success of the event is only possible because of everything that has to happen behind the scenes and the only way for you to see that is by watching this film. Patrons who go to the festival every year can have a greater appreciation for those who build, perform, and produce one of the greatest events you can attend in the year. It was a pleasure being part of this film and if you’re a lover of the Florida Renaissance Festival, this film is as much for you as the people that make history a reality.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

How to say "I Love You."

Don't say "I love you"
with a serpent's tongue.
Spreading your false energy
through my veins -- that's worse than
any venom and murders the heart the quickest.

Don't say "I love you"
like a child does a toy,
something that is to be enjoyed
for a short period time and then discarded
without a care for the one who is used
and will be left alone in dark misery.

Don't say "I love you"
at all.

Give that person a gift
at an unexpected time,
and give it for no reason.

Kiss that person,
not with lustful intentions
but with meaningful ones.

Do something for that person,
not because they asked
but because you want to for them.

Be there for that person
no matter what the reason,
even when they don't want you to.

Look each other in the eyes
and enjoy that moment of silence,
that moment where words have no purpose.

Finally, hold that hand.
That is always the first step
and will always be the most important one.

If you want to say "I love you"
and actually mean it.
Then don't say it at all.

Excerpt from Madness in a Recession, available in print and on Amazon.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis

When it comes to the world of superheroes and comics, I’m more on the DC side rather than the popular Marvel. There’s nothing wrong with Marvel but we all have our preferences and to me, nobody beats the man of steel. Each side has its successes and it’s complications that gives one an advantage over the other in certain aspects. When it comes to DC, it’s got the financial backing of cinema giant Warner Bros. Studios which hasn’t produced a lot of desired results until recently. Compared to Marvel which is supported by Disney’s limitless revenue stream and dominant reputation.

It’s no secret that Marvel is destroying DC on the big screen with a movie releasing practically every year and most of them getting rave reviews most of the time. Only recently has DC started to pick up the pace with the mega success of The Dark Knight saga and recently released Man of Steel. Then there’s the success DC has in television with the popular hit Arrow and The Flash unlike Marvel with their show Marvel: Agents of Shield which has been moderate at best. But the biggest advantage DC has in this never ending geek feud is it’s made for television animated movies. That brings us to the topic of this article with the released film, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis.

Following the success of the last film Justice League: War, this film follows the famous superheroes as they stumble on the famous legend of Atlantis. Now this justice league is based off the New 52 version of the 
Justice League which means simply different costumes, more violent and more attitude. The main protagonist in this film centers around Arthur Curry who we can all tell is destined to become King and known to the world as Aquaman. There’s just one problem being his half-brother Orm and his partner Manta who want nothing more than to start a war with the “land-dwellers.” Upon learning of Arthur’s claim to the throne, Orm commits the ultimate betrayal in order to put his plans to fruition and have the war he’s been craving since he was a boy.

The film started out strong with a great opening sequence but slows down by spending time to show what’s been going on since the events of the previous film. Superman and Wonder Woman are becoming closer, Cyborg is coming to grips with who he is, Cyborg is working for the government, and everyone else is going on with their lives. While the world knows them as a group, it appears that the title Justice League is more of a show than an actual group. A way of making the public feel safe because they believe the league is actually working together when in fact they couldn’t be more apart.

Then an attack on Cyborg occurs which unites the team once more and it’s discovered that his attackers are warriors of Atlantis. This starts the sequence of events that will eventually introduce the league to Arthur Curry who will soon find that he’s not just a normal human being. Just like in the last film, the action was spectacular as too was the story itself but there were flaws. There are two that I speak of and one being that for some reason, certain members of the league are able to breathe underwater without an oxygen mask. The second being a mistake in a scene where Arthur learns an unfortunate fate and in that scene, Superman’s uniform is incomplete.

In the new 52 version, Superman’s upper shirt goes all the way up to his skull, covering his neck and his cape hangs onto his shoulders. In the scene his neck is exposed and his cape is hanging where it traditionally is, so I’m guess whomever the artist is that drew that scene mistakenly put the classic version instead of the new 52 version. Other than that, there were no technical issues. So as far as the rating goes, I have to give this film a 7 out of 10 because of those issues and slowing down the action. This film wasn’t as good as its predecessor but it was good for introducing the newest version of Aquaman which is both attractive and intriguing.

With the future release of the Justice League movies and solo movies of The Flash, Wonder Woman and others, its good DC is still committed to these films. Because of their popularity, fans are getting introduced to different elements that inspire the demand for a movie such as the recently announced Suicide Squad and Justice League Dark. These films generate huge revenue for DC but as good as these films are, DC needs to get on the ball with bringing these characters to the big screen. Until then, I will be looking forward to the next release of the DC animated films with the next one titled Batman vs. Robin. This sequel to Son of Batman is something I have been waiting for and it will get me in the mood for the release of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Another Valentine's Day Poem

The Woman by the Bay
It’s one thing to be left behind by someone
that you once loved more than life.
It’s another to have gotten that love
after so much of your life alone.

That’s the tale of the woman by the bay.
She sits on the beach with a scarred heart
and a tear dragging the ink from her eyes.
Her silence is speaking for her.

She is saying: I loved him
and I will not find another like him.
I go and sit by her, put my arm around her,
and tell her it’s going to be alright.

She says how she has been alone,
and how men aren’t attracted to her
as if it’s a curse.
I can sympathize with her on that one.

I tell her of my curse.
That how I’ve learned from women,
how I know what it is that they want,
and how I know that I’m not part of that list.

She says how she will be alone again
because she is not as beautiful as the posers
on the magazines and in the movies.

We are in the land of the blind,
And, while I am no king, I can say
only one true thing about this
woman by the bay

As I look at her watching the ocean,
hoping to see the dolphins,
and rubbing her feet with red sox
in the warm sand.

I see that she is one of the most
                                                          beautiful women I’ve ever seen.

Excerpt from my book Madness in a Recession available now on print or Amazon Kindle.