Tag Archive: movie

Worse than crossing the streams

I love Ghostbusters. I’ve spent probably an unhealthy amount of my life memorizing lines from the movies, collecting action figures, and watching the cartoons. And yes, before you even ask, I am a god. I even enjoyed the brand new reboot with Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig—it’s not perfect, but it was surprisingly a lot of fun. So, it was nothing short of painful to have to apply our review process to Activision’s latest licensed dumpster fire based off the aforementioned reboot.

In the Ghostbusters game, the four ladies from the movie have taken their show on the road and are busting ghosts for the president in Washington D.C. However, they couldn’t just up and leave New York City defenseless incase there were any more paranormal problems. So, before they left, they recruited four brash afterlife aficionados like themselves onto the team to man the firehouse in their absence. And, wouldn’t you know it, as soon as the ladies leave, a handful of hauntings pop up.

Ghostbusters is an arcade action-shooter, done in an abstract art style reminiscent of cartoons like Extreme Ghostbusters. It works well enough, at least in terms of character design. The ghosts, ghouls, and even the ‘busters exaggerated looks and hard lines work to pop off the screen, even considering the high camera angle.


Unfortunately, the rest of the game’s design is a disaster. The levels themselves are boring and bloated, lasting anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes, completely jettisoning the speed you’d expect from the genre—not to mention you have to traipse through the same generic graveyards, subways, and interiors the entire time. To make matters even worse, the gameplay itself is as repetitive as the level design. Each character carries three weapons: the classic proton pack, specialty guns, and grenades. This helps offer a little diversity between each character, as the shotgunner with the electric grenades has to play differently from the proton mini-gunner with the slime grenades. There are also dual proton pistols and a proton assault rifle, but once you get past the weapons, it all boils down to blasting away the same handful of enemy types after you turn every corner.

Sometimes you’ll come across a more powerful ghost who you’ll have to throw in a trap. From there, a ridiculous minigame starts, which requires you to pull in the reverse direction of the ghost and button mash for score multipliers—an idea that quickly becomes as dreary as everything else the game tasks you with. At the merciful conclusion to each stage, you tally scores and get awarded experience points that help boost the strength of your characters, but only human controlled characters can keep their points.


When playing four-player couch co-op, this isn’t much of a problem—beyond the fact that you have four people bored out of their minds instead of one. (Misery loves company, but I’ll have to make it up to my fellow EGM crew members at some point for subjecting them to this torture.) Playing by yourself, the game is easy enough to get through, but the AI does absolutely nothing to help you out. In fact, they tend to get stuck on invisible walls more often than they do anything useful in regards to busting ghosts. From my solo and co-op play sessions, it feels like the game was balanced for one-player, since more human players speed up the push through each level (still not enough to make the experience tolerable). So, Ghostbusters doesn’t even scale difficulty for multiple players.

If all this wasn’t bad enough, it only gets worse with the story, which basically copies the movie’s plot nearly point for point. You have to catch all the ghosts the ladies let get away in the film, with only two original bosses added to flesh the game out. The boss battles are a nice change of pace, but considering it is literally hours between them, they can’t salvage what appears to have been a forcibly lengthened experience to try to quantify a ridiculous price tag.

Ghostbusters tries to channel the spirit of old-school, arcade action shooters of years past, but it fails to capture any of the fun those games are known for. Even the addition of four-player couch co-op can’t save this from being a boring mess of an experience. Ghostbusters comes off as nothing short of a lazy, hastily thrown together movie cash-in attempt that can’t satisfy even the most hardcore fans of this iconic franchise, and all copies should be locked safely away in a containment unit somewhere. Light is green, trap is clean.


Developer: FireForge Games • Publisher: Activision • ESRB: E10+ – Everyone 10 and older • Release Date: 07.12.16
Ghostbusters is a bloated, boring piece of trash that forcibly lengthened an already miserable experience to try to justify a ridiculous price tag. We can only hope to return it forthwith to its place of origin—or the nearest parallel dimension.
The Good I don’t have to play it anymore.
The Bad It is the worst kind of licensed video game. It is a cheaply thrown together, boring, repetitive mess that isn’t worth anyone’s time.
The Ugly I think I’m starting to develop PTSD from all the awful Activision licensed games I’ve had to review over the years.
Ghostbusters is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox One. Review code was provided by Activision for the benefit of this review. EGM reviews games on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 5.0 being average.

With summer movie season typically being all about the major action blockbuster blowing us away with intense scenes of bullets flying and exploding fireballs melting people’s faces, it’s easy to forget to just laugh once in a while. Lucky for us, there’s The Watch. Starring comedic powerhouses Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill, The Watch follows the bumbling antics of four unlikely friends who come upon an alien invasion that will wipe the Earth off the face of the galaxy if they don’t do something about it.

The movie starts with Stiller as the manager of the local Costco. When he arrives for work one day, he finds his night watchman has been killed while on duty…and his skin unceremoniously ripped off his body. With the local police unprepared for such an event, Stiller takes it upon himself to form a neighborhood watch and track down the killer. Enter Vaughn, Hill, and relative newcomer Richard Ayoade to complete the rag tag band of local misfits that quickly get in way over their heads.

Now, to add to the comedy gravitas already of the leading men in this film, we also saw the motion picture directorial debut of Akiva Schaffer, best known for working with Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone on many of the Saturday Night Live digital shorts of the past few years, and the script was co-written by Seth Rogen. And honestly, sometimes with all those dynamic personalities coming together, you’d expect that the movie would suffer as it was worked to make sure everyone had a chance to shine. But The Watch succeeded in having me literally laugh out loud for much of the movie as everyone had their moments, including Akiva who inserted himself into a hysterical cameo.

The Watch isn’t perfect by any means though. It gets off to a really slow start and for a movie that’s 1 hour and 40 minutes long, the first 40 minutes really is spent just setting up the situation and the personality foundations for the main characters, and I definitely checked my watch a couple of times because of it. The beginning does have a few nice one-liners to not lose you completely, but thankfully that last hour was strong enough to pull it all together with one joke just rolling right into the next.

I also appreciated the fact that once the alien invasion was exposed, the movie took a step away from that and let it just linger there while focusing back in on the dynamic between the four leads. You knew they would get back to it sooner or later, being the major conflict of the movie after all, but the funniest moments of the movie were just the four guys bantering back and forth with this galactic-sized situation on their hands.

I think part of this also is the movie taking full advantage of its R-rating. Not pulling any punches with language, sex, drugs, or violence, The Watch definitely drew a few laughs just by its willingness to occassionally go to places people don’t normally go to outside their home, if ever. Then again, what do you expect from the guy who helped make shorts like “Motherlover” and “D*** in a Box”? This is definitely for adult eyes only folks.

When all was said and done, I could say I genuinely enjoyed The Watch. It had a lot of great moments and once it hits its stride, even though it took a little while longer than expected to get there, the smile never left my face. Stiller, Vaughn, and Hill all hit their notes perfectly and Richard Ayoade may have been the most pleasant surprise of all as he stole several scenes with his expert comedic delivery. If you’re tired of seeing guys in costumes beat up on each other and need a good hearty laugh this summer, The Watch is a fine and funny alternative.

SCORE: 8.0

Four gore and seven years ago…

By the time we’re probably about 10 years old, if not younger, we all know who Abraham Lincoln is and we continue to learn about him throughout out lives. And because of this we all know the major talking points about him. He freed the slaves, saved the Union, and was assassinated in a theater (there’s obviously a lot more, but I’m not writing a biography here). But what if there was more to him than what we knew in our history books?

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, based off the book of the same name, is the fun, over-the-top, action-packed ‘what if?’ story about out 16th President and if the driving force behind many of his greatest moments in history was really all just part of his unending campaign to destroy the undead bloodsuckers.

Starting off in his early childhood with his parents as indentured servants, Abe rushes to the aide of an African-American friend of his named Will Johnson who was being whipped for no good reason. When the taskmaster looks to strike Abe as well for interjecting, Abe’s father rushes in and strikes the man. The landowner that Abe’s family works for doesn’t take kindly to this and threatens to collect all his debts that evening. And indeed he does as that night, the man enters the Lincoln home, reveals himself as a vampire, and drains Abe’s mother right before his eyes as he peered through the cracks in the bunk above. Thus, Abe’s lifelong quest for vengeance began.

It is also after this that the movie quickly changes pace from something a bit more suspenseful to straight up action with a small dose of comedy along the way. If you’re looking to be scared folks, this definitely isn’t the movie for you. If you’re looking for some deep, moving experience, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a dude dressed like Abe Lincoln to act like a badass and chop off vampires’ heads with an axe, you’ve come to the right place, and in that regard, this movie is very solid.

The fight scenes are well planned out and indeed, young Abe, and even older Abe, comes off looking like someone who knows well what he’s doing. And with the History channel-like narration, you almost believe that this could have all actually happened as the movie does a wonderful job of buying so deeply into the idea of vampires being a real threat to the well-being of our nation in the mid-19th century.

The acting is also solid throughout from all major players, but Dominic Cooper as Henry Sturges, Abe’s vamp killing mentor, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Mary Todd Lincoln steal the show though on the whole.

The only real drawbacks I think for the movie is the fact that the character development is relatively weak, especially when it comes to Abe’s training as a vampire hunter, which very much used the montage method to blow through it. The definition of the vampire menace was also very unclear, relying on only a few lines of dialogue to explain the differences between the vampires Abe faces and the ones people have come to expect from other forms of media. For example, the vampires in this movie can go in the sun, whereas it is widely accepted that this is the one true weakness to the undead.

Aside from this though, if you’re looking for some mindless fun from a well-made action flick, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a solid choice. Good acting, great action sequences, a little bit of humor, and even a few nods to history that folks might find enjoyable round out a solid night at the movies.

SCORE: 7.5

No surprise to see that Immortals was the one to take down Puss in Boots as the number one movie as it grossed $32 million, but I was surprised to see it slip to third and that Adam Sandler’s latest comedy, Jack and Jill just squeezed on by into the number two spot with a strong $25 million opening weekend. I guess guys in drag is still funny to most people. Of course, this is all going to change this coming weekend.

1) Twilight: Breaking Dawn: Part 1 – A vampire knocks up a human chick and ticks off a bunch of wussie werewolves.

For the same reason that comic book movies do so well during their run, so do these teenie bopper suck fests (pun intended). Because their target audience is so enamored with the characters, that they’ll see the movie multiple times. Every girl between 13 and 30 this weekend will likely see this movie a half dozen times and think it’s the greatest thing ever. I would rather shoot myself in the face. But no matter what my silent protest would do, this movie will still claim the number one spot with ease. I’m sorry, I was raised to be afraid of vampires and werewolves.


2) Happy Feet Two – The dancing penguins from the first movie return and look to help a little penguin find his groove while also protecting their frozen home from a new threat.

Being a kid’s movie, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was able to steal the number two spot because another key movie audience, little kids and dragged along parents, will see this over the teen angst vampire garbage above. An all-star voice cast featuring Elijah Wood and Robin Williams highlights a movie that fans of the first will likely enjoy just as much. Don’t expect me dancing my way out of the theatre though. Although I’d still see this sooner than Twilight.


No surprise to see Real Steel to come out on top for a second week in a row last week especially against a pair of remakes, but it was a little disappointing to see The Big Year debut in 9th place. But as I forewarned, it just seemed too smart of the average moviegoer. With another trifecta of movies coming out this week, it should be interesting to see if Real Steel can hold off another remake and another seasonal horror movie. Here is this week’s movie previews.

1) The Three Musketeers

The evil Cardinal Richelieu has disbanded the legendary French fighting force known as the Musketeers as part of an evil assassination plot to further strain relations between France and England. Three heroes though know that they don’t have wear a crest to still be Musketeers.

Alexandre Dumas’s classic action/adventure tale is probably one of the most remade movies in Hollywood. I can think of four versions in my lifetime alone, but this looks to be one of the worst. Although a star-studded cast, including Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz as the dastardly Cardinal, is featured in this film, it seems to have gone too over-the-top with the classic story featuring insane technology for the time instead of any real swashbuckling and has almost a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen feel, which is something you don’t want in The Three Musketeers. Steer clear of this.

2) Paranormal Activity 3

Set in 1988, a pair of sisters are able to see and speak with an invisible entity with a malicious nature after their family moves into a new home.

Likely to do the best this weekend just because it is another cheap to make horror movie and Halloween is fast approaching, Paranormal Activity 3 looks to be the exact same movie as the previous two. So if you enjoy being startled by things that go bump in the night, there are just enough surprises and solid special effects in this to probably keep you satisfied and to encourage the makers of this franchise to keep churning these out on a yearly basis for next to nothing. If you’re not afraid of ghosts though, then clearly this movie isn’t for you.

3) Johnny English Reborn

The international bumbling super spy Johnny English returns to action in order to foil an assassination plot against the Chinese premier.

The least likely to do well this weekend I believe, at least here in the States, this movie all comes down to if you like Rowan Atkinson’s brand of movie humor. Lots of physical humor and awkward, zany situations will be seen throughout this Atkinson produced British comedy. If you like any of Atkinson’s previous work like Black Adder or Mr. Bean, the original Johnny English, or spy spoof movies like Austin Powers to begin with, you’ll probably get your laughs from this one as well and won’t be disappointed. Especially if you like sitting in a mostly empty theatre.

Originally Published: May 10, 2011, on Momsbasement.org

I come to you once again with your weekly geek fix. This week I break out a Thor theme and review the Thor movie, the Thor: God of Thunder video game from SEGA, and Fear Itself #2 (of 7) from Marvel. My hot chick pick of the week is Kat Dennings, who plays Darcy in the Thor movie, and I have two songs this week: The 1966 Thor cartoon theme and the Marvel vs Capcom 3 Thor theme.

Originally Published: March 29, 2011, on Youtube.com/RCars4885

I come to you once again with your weekly geek fix from my mother’s basement! This week’s episode sees me review X-Men #9 from Marvel and the downloadable Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime from Atari. My hot chick pick of the week is Nancy Patton and this week’s theme is Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters movie theme.

Originally Published: December 18, 2010, on Collider.com

Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam is the latest animated short to be released by the folks in charge of the DC Animated Universe. The Man of Steel, in his Clark Kent guise, is doing a newspaper piece on Billy Bastion, a young orphan with a heart of gold who tries to always see the good in the world. It is this eternal optimism that has also piqued the interest of a mystical being known as the Wizard Shazam. Unbeknowst to Billy, he has been marked by the Wizard in order for him to keep an eye on him. This mystical mark though is also acting as a beacon for the Wizard’s greatest failure, Black Adam.

Black Adam was originally a champion of Shazam, but his dark heart quickly led him to using his powers for evil and so the Wizard banished him to the farthest star system he could think of. With the powers of a god though at his disposal, Black Adam has been traveling back to Earth for centuries and now wishes revenge on those who had wronged him.

Now, left with no other choice, the Wizard must prematurely bestow Billy with the same powers as Black Adam to help protect Earth from all manner of villainy as he will now become the new Captain Marvel, Earth’s Mightiest Mortal. Billy must quickly learn about his powers and how to be a hero from Superman who, as always, conveniently shows up and together they must stop Black Adam once and for all.

Origin stories can be very fun if done properly and this animated short’s quick pace, great voice acting, and shiny stylized looking animation all come together very well on the Blu-ray format as probably the best short yet by DC’s animation gurus. All the major voice actors, George Newburn as Superman, Arnold Vosloo as Black Adam, Jerry O’Connell as Captain Marvel, and Kevin Michael Richardson as Mister Tawky Tawny also gave great performances and really made you believe in their characters motivations.

And Newburn continues to rival Tim Daly’s classic 1990s Superman voiceover portrayal here in more recent times. Even the changes they made to Bastion’s upbringing in order to make him a character that the audience could immediately get behind was forgivable for diehards and didn’t take anything away from the piece or the theme of the character.

The only real weak point of this piece is the most obvious one in that it is less than 30 minutes long for what easily could have been a full-feature all on its own for one of comics’ oldest heroes (first appearing in February of 1940 even though he didn’t become a DC property until 1972).

And since this adventure is less than 30 minutes long, it has been bundled together with the other DC shorts that were featured on their more recent full-length animated films. Extended versions of the Green Arrow, The Spectre, and Jonah Hex shorts are included to help flesh out this Blu-Ray package into a more respectable length closer to 70 minutes.

Unfortunately, if you are a fan of the DC Universe and have been collecting the animated movies up to this point, then these added shorts, which were needlessly extended with a couple of minutes of filler animation each to try to extend the Blu-ray further, don’t add much to this disc overall really. Even with special episodes from Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman: The Animated Series, and Justice League Unlimited that highlight all the characters featured on this disc, there is only 30 minutes of non-documentary original content.

It is because of this lack of original animated content that I can’t recommend this to anyone who has bought Batman/Superman: Apocalypse, Batman: Under the Red Hood, or Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths already. Sorry Captain Marvel fans, but I’d just rent this or wait till it hit the bargain bin if you really want to purchase this solid, albeit very short, representation of your hero.

Rating: C

-Ray Carsillo

Originally Published: December 17, 2010, on Youtube.com/CGRUndertow

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed X-Men Origins: Wolverine for the Xbox 360 from Activision.

Originally Published: October 20, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed Transformers: The Game, based off the movie of course, for the Nintendo Wii.