The problem with Assassin’s Creed’s success


From the moment Desmond Miles laid down on the animus machine back in 2007 I have been a fan of this rollercoaster of a series, year after year it’s been released with controversy whether it be good news or bad news and people still buy it regardless. Assassin’s creed over the years has reached a status that very few games ever do, and while that’s great for Ubisoft’s wallet is it great for the industry? No probably not, at least not in any major way, but it may actually be bad for the developers of Ubisoft in an odd way, games like call of duty and any sports game are annualized so that you never go a year without playing them and the reason for that is so the publishers can make more money, and in return we buy them.

Burn out (not the game) is a real thing that’s waiting to drop on AC and Call of Duty, one of these days the new one Is going to sell less than the last, and then starts the avalanche, now while you can say that for any franchise in any media (ahem superhero movies) the process of people being burned out on your Beautifully rendered and mechanically tight game is increased by a lot, Grand theft auto made all the money when it released last year and that game toke 6 years to make, and as the money indicates no one is getting sick of driving off cliff faces and scuba diving to see alien ships any time soon.

Now before it sounds as though I’m saying these annualized games are doomed to fail this year, I’m not these games will make millions for a long time to come. But those developers and publishers should be ready for the quick and fierce backlash. As a fan of both Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed from the beginning it’s tough to imagine the gaming world without these kinds of pillars that hold up developers, but it hit me this year when AC: unity came out, I didn’t enjoy it, in fact I didn’t even go further than a couple hours in it, and that sucks. That sucks a lot because I love that series but suddenly the broken controls and the weird AI finally hit me square in the face.

Another problem the developers have found themselves in is that they can’t mess with too much of the mechanics because then it isn’t Assassin’s Creed and everyone will stop buying it, but the down side to that is the fact that a lot of the controls feel broken and have been since its inception. So you either fix the problem hoping people adjust or you leave it be and hope the other people don’t notice, strangely they did neither. Every AC game has had slightly different mechanics or even the lazy UI swap; just enough to make it feel different so that you realize it’s still Assassin’s Creed and its sill a little broken. And Unity pushed things too far in my opinion, while the climbing down mechanic was cool (and a bit odd to see that it had taken this long to get down from a building.) it made the fighting arbitrarily harder and the main character was a bit slower and jilted in his movements. Sometimes you fix something so much that it breaks completely and while AC isn’t broken completely its certainly heading the wrong way.

But the sign of hope in the distance is the fact that almost every other Assassin’s creed game isn’t good, my favorites of the series are Black Flag (4) Assassin’s Creed: brotherhood (2.5?) And Assassin’s Creed 2, so here is hoping that Assassin’s Creed Victory or whatever it’s called next year will be my jumping back on point, because I really want to like the series again, and an easy way to do that is to make a charming and interesting character, unlike Arno or Connor.


Mini Movie Recap – The Theory of Everything


It’s been a good year for non-blockbuster movies, even the occasional lulls (Foxcatcher) this year has proved to be impressive, but up there with “The Imitation Game,” “Birdman,” and “Whiplash,” stands “The Theory of Everything” it was one of the first movies I seen when it came out and I enjoy it still today. In the 1960s, Cambridge University student and future physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) falls in love with fellow collegian Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones). At 21, Hawking learns that he has motor neuron disease. Despite this — and with Jane at his side — he begins an ambitious study of time, of which he has very little left, according to his doctor. Both Redmayne and Jones are phenomenal in their respective roles for wildly different reasons, Jones portrays the love that Jane had for Stephen early on and throughout his terrible disease, but she also conveys the terrible burden it was for her to deal with that life. Redmayne has one of the most difficult acting jobs ever in going through the disease the afflicted Hawking at a young age.

It’s truly sad watching and waiting for the disease to come, even though your waiting for the other shoe to drop Eddie Redmayne conveys a truly loveable science nerd, not only is he portraying hawking with a motor neuron disease, he has to portray the stages throughout his life that slowly went from him walking slowly to his eventual wheel chair bound lifestyle. Even during the scenes when Redmayne can’t talk or move he shows so much love and affection for his wife and kids and his passion for science. I have never seen Eddie Redmayne in anything before and his performance blew me away.

The relationship story plays out in a sad and understandable way, you can’t blame either person for the way things come to an end and neither do the characters, it eventually becomes too much for both of them even though they love each other very much, and the final scene of the movie conveys the enormous love they had and still have for each other in a subtle way. But on the uplifting side of things one of the final scenes involving the classroom he gives is a combination of inspirational and a true testament to what people can accomplish. i would defiantly recommend the movie, it has some great moments of romance but also some wonderful moments of science and intrigue.

Mini Movie Recap – Foxcatcher


It’s tough to tell a story when everybody already knows the ending, and it’s even tougher when you can’t make the story suspenseful throughout it. But when it comes to ‘Foxcatcher’ it’s a bit in-between, this movie is grey and sad all throughout it, there is very little color and it rarely changes tones. Marked by two fantastic performances its tough to see the silver lining in Foxcatcher, John du Pont (Steve Carell) invites Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) to move to his estate and help form a wrestling team for the 1988 Olympics, the reason he does so is because he wants to succeed outside of his brother’s (Mark Ruffalo) shadow.

Right off the bat, Steve Carell is one creepy mother fucker in this movie, he isn’t a bad guy or a villain, he is just straight up unsettling and he plays it perfectly just like his weird nose. The more striking thing in his performance is the level of insane or not insane he tends to balance throughout the whole movie, you feel as though something awful is going to happen and even when it does you’re still a bit shocked. But that’s not all on Carell’s shoulders it’s also a credit to the director (Bennett Miller) to keep him that unusual throughout the movie until its necessary, but just like his past movies (“Money Ball” and “Capote”) it’s up for debate as to the truth of these true stories.

My other favorite performance that I wasn’t expecting to love was Mark Ruffalo, he was given a lot more to do than I was expecting and he becomes a lovable older brother by the end, I truly felt like he just wanted the best for his younger brother who appears to be having a break down away from him, it’s a very well built arc for a character that we don’t get to meet a lot. Channing Tatum on the other hand is almost the opposite; he’s on screen a lot and is really boring, which is surprising because he’s proven himself to hold the screen and be interesting before, but this role certainly takes it down a peg or two.

I wish I could recommend the movie more, but unless you like sad, grey, “true stories” there isn’t much outside of some amazing performances, even when I try and think back to specific places or environment’s I can’t think of any that stand out, sure the ranch is a cool location buts covered in fog and we spend a lot of the movie there in the first place. I enjoyed Money Ball even with all it’s dramatizing of mundane moments, but this feels a step to far in that direction, Carell and Ruffalo are Great but not much else outside of them stands out.

Mini Movie Recap – Whiplash


I imagine people watching a suspenseful horror movie feel the same way I did when watching J.K Simmons in Whiplash, he’s brilliantly terrifying in the best way. A first-year music student (Miles Teller) wins a seat behind the drums in a jazz band led by a teacher (J.K. Simmons) who uses fear and intimidation to push his students to perfection. Fear and intimidation are putting it mildly; the scenes with his students are a combination of exhilarating, terrifying and a bit funny. And by the end of it when you think he’s softened just a hair, he strikes back in the most honest, awesome and cruel ways. It’s a fascinating character to watch.

The movie revolves around Miles Teller and his wanting to be one of the greats, and based off of that he’s naïve, self-centered and a bit of a dick at times. But the kind of dick that you end up wanting to be great, it would be impossible to make this movie interesting if Simmons was just yelling at this quiet kid who was simply nice for nice sake, that’s why he needs to be a bit of an egomaniac on the inside. He throws family and friends under the bus simply because he wants to be the best, and while that’s a shitty thing to say at the dinner table it’s something you respect when you see him bleeding all over his drum kit.

The direction (Damien Chazelle) is fast quick and clean cut I have only one instance when it was a bit obvious, on a date showing that they are getting along, but that’s the nit pickiest of nitpicks, it also makes drumming feel like its life or death at ever instance, one remarkably great moment takes place between three characters drumming to make the starting core of the bad, and they are basically dying for the chance, over and over again they try, and the way the scene is cut and paced is truly exciting and painful.

I could not recommend it more, this movie is up there with “Birdman” and “The Imitation Game” as my favorites of the year, even though J.K Simmons is great in everything he does he’s truly awe inspiring in this role that many people disagree with now days, he’s trying to make the best out of someone in the most horrific and tortured way possible, a trend that almost no teacher does today, and the end speaks for itself in terms of buildup.

Mini Movie Recap – The Imitation Game


It’s easy to judge The imitation game at first for simply taking benedict Cumberbatch and putting him in his Sherlock character role during world war two, but Cumberbatch portrays Alan Turing in such a meek, and confident light that you start to really grasp the subtleties of his performance, whether it be his frumpy posture to his weak chin and his occasional stutter. The movie is about Alan Turing and a group of other math nerds trying to crack an impossible Nazi code, using a computer the first of its kind.

The group consists of two obvious stand outs along with Benedict Cumberbatch, Joan Clark and Hugh Alexander played by Keira Knightley and Matthew Goode Respectively, Knightley plays Alan’s absurdly smart new recruit and Goode plays the teams cocky leader (at first) they are both remarkably good in their roles, Goode portrays Hugh as if James Bond was a mathlete and it works very well. Knightley works well as the unassuming proper girl who can figure out a crossword puzzle in less than 6 minutes.

The movie unlike some other’s this year has several solid and followed through on messages, and some of them you don’t realize until towards the end, it jumps around a bit going from Alan’s Childhood then to the war and then to the early 50’s it’s a bit odd at first but you catch on quickly as to the direction your being pulled in, but the brightest part of this movie is Cumberbatch, throughout the movie Alan is a very stoic and secretive man with all the skill in the world to pull off the machine to break this invincible Nazi code, but towards the end he breaks your heart in just how much he cares about the machine he’s spent his entire life working towards.

I defiantly recommend the movie; it should certainly be on everyone’s radars just like Benedict Cumberbatch should be, from the poignant moments of him as a child discovering cryptography, or the bold and defiant stance he takes to keep this project going. Very few bio pics strike the perfect balance in telling you who this person was and this movie certainly shows the importance one man had on an entire war.