At least one Ninja Turtle is paying attention.

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I never did get around to detailing my thoughts on the Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I did discuss it a fair amount with my friends, and the single biggest complaint I had was that it never slowed down. It was a frenetic and frenzied blitz from start to finish, never really allowing itself to breathe or let its best assets (its characters) marinate in your mind.

That’s actually a big reason why I feel the original Turtles movie (1990) was – and remains – so great. It wasn’t a movie with nonstop action, worried that dialog might bore the audience. It has a strong sense of deliberate pacing, which allowed the four brothers to appropriately display their differing personalities and show off the ways in which they interacted with one another.

So I was delightfully surprised by a comment from Jeremy Howard, who plays the role of Donatello in the newest Turtles flick, that indicated he felt the same way. In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Howard said, “I’d love to see more interaction with the Turtles, more quiet moments where we get to see how they think and what makes them tick.”

Considering I wasn’t really a fan of much of anything in 2014’s TMNT, this is a promising thought from someone directly involved. It doesn’t mean that’s what we’ll get, but at least someone’s acknowledged it.

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How We Value Art

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the way we value art. We watch movies and play games, and then assess their value by assigning a number. It’s like saying, “Your work, effort, time and creative vision are worth this number. Next.”

Too often, we outright dismiss something without even taking the time to consider everything that went into making it. We’re all guilty of it – I know I certainly am.

Can you imagine pouring your heart, soul and mind into something, only to have some snot-nosed twerp or pretentious neckbeard on the internet blow it off – without even reading the actual criticism – because some reviewer gave it a less-than-stellar score?

Something just feels inherently unfair about judging creativity in this way.

I realize that a numerical score is what the lowest common denominator will best understand, but as a general standard, creators, artists and content producers deserve better than that. They deserve a real, honest critique.

Now, I understand that not everything – be it a book, song, movie, game, poem or whatever else – is truly created with expression/experience in mind. There are many, many works that are vapid and made only with the intent to cash in on a fad in the most lucrative way possible.

But that doesn’t mean our criticism has to be just as flat and one-dimensional.

TRAILER – The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

Ladies and gentlemen, WE HAVE A TRAILER!

I have no idea if this’ll work out. Whenever one of these “Let’s Take a Cartoon and Turn It Into a Live-Action Movie Even Though It Makes No Sense” movies comes along, I always groan. Continue reading

Thank You for Being Awesome

This is kind of out-of-the-blue, but I just want to thank everyone for being awesome. Throughout the past week or so, I’ve been reminded of how great all my friends and family are, and just how many wonderful people I have in my life.

This wasn’t brought on by any traumatic experience. I wasn’t faced with “trying times” or anything like that. I was just repeatedly reminded of how many awesome people are not only willing to associate with me, but actually want to spend their valuable free time hanging out, laughing, goofing off and having fun with me.

It’s a good feeling knowing other people not only care about you, but think you matter. But it’s not because anyone ever says it. They don’t need to. It’s in the way they talk to and interact with you. Continue reading

Beyond: Two Souls – A Review

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As video games grow and mature as a medium, and efforts are made in an attempt to be taken seriously, the industry is still trying to fully realize its identity. We’ve moved past the debate over whether or not video games can be considered art, and are now questioning what criteria constitute a game.

Games have been adopting cinematic qualities for some time, but none go as far as those made by David Cage and his development studio, Quantic Dream. Some view this as a positive, while others bemoan the subtle interactivity in Cage’s creations, labeling them “interactive movies,” as some form of an insult. Apparently calling your movie a game is only okay when Hideo Kojima does it, but I digress. Continue reading