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EastMagi Blog

Is Nintendo In Trouble?

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Nintendos new console Wii U had a promising head start in the next generation console race with both its basic and deluxe editions sold out everywhere during its first couple weeks of release. Nintendo was having a difficult time keeping up with consumer demands and therefore reckoned it would sell 5.5 million units by the end of March 2013. Unfortunately, sluggish sales figure has recently prompted Nintendo to cut its 2013 sales projection by 17 percent to 4 million units by the end of March 2013. Wii U has so far sold 3 million units to date. At the same time, Nintendo is also lowering their projections of their 3DS handheld system from 17.5 million units to 15 million units for the year through March 2013.

To many gamers, this recent news is not the least bit surprising. Wii U is not selling well because Nintendo is not supplying it with enough games. Aside from the New Super Mario Bros. U and Zombiu, most of Wii U games are from third-parties that are simply ports from existing PlayStation 3 and XBox 360 releases. By the time these titles roll out on the Wii U and selling at full price (MSRP $59.99), their PS3 and XBox 360s brethrens have already rolled back their prices.

It looks like Nintendo will be fighting a tough battle from here on out with its much underclad Wii U. Although Sony and Microsofts next generation consoles havent arrived on the market yet, rumors of their impending releases this year are enough to prompt many gamers to save up their cash. This is by far the biggest blow to hit Nintendos wallet but this is a small issue when compared to what Nintendo may potentially face when the big boys from Sony and Microsoft make their presence.

Nintendo is quite simply an entire generation behind in the unveiling of its Wii U system at a time when Sony and Microsoft are getting ready to move on to more advanced hardware. In fact, several developers in the industry have already discounted it as a next generation system. Wii U is the console that Nintendo should have released in 2006. Nintendo will always be known for its first party titles like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Kid Icarus, Pikmin and the likes, but it will be in serious trouble if these are the only players they can rely on for their continual thrive for success. Despite the undeniable fact that these games and their characters are iconic (who doesnt know Mario and Link?), they too can wear out from overexposure.

The simple truth is Nintendo needs more new game franchises and the fastest way to do that is by gaining more third party support. At the moment, it looks like third-party publishers arent allocating their time and resources to Nintendos new console until the Wii U can prove itself in the marketplace. Judging by the under-achieved sales numbers, Nintendo needs to implement a plan B and fast. Their main focus now should be to draw in more third-party publishers support because it doesnt look like Nintendo can come out victorious in this uphill battle with Sony and Microsoft if they continue to rely only on their first party titles.

Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013) Film Review

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The 2013 adaptation of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, presented in 3D, is a true sequel to the 1974 version. As the film begins, audiences are treated to scenes from the final moments in the 70's version. The lone survivor Sally Hardesty manages to escape on the back of a pickup truck and this 2013 sequel continues the story with the town sheriff (played by Thom Barry) planning to make an arrest of Jeb Sawyer, aka Leatherface (played by 6'6 ft tall Dan Yeager) for the alleged butchering of Sally's friends. The town citizens soon join the sheriff demanding the Sawyer to hand over Jeb and it doesn't take long before the citizens turn into an angry mob that burns the Sawyer house down. The attack leaves the entire Sawyer family dead, except for an infant girl who is taken by a couple involved in the attack to raise as their own daughter. The little girl grows up as Heather Miller (Alexandra Daddario) and twenty years later learns that she's adopted by the Miller family when she receives an inheritance from her long lost grandmother. This takes her back to Texas to where it all begins.

To avoid an NC-17 rating, the film has to cut back on the level of gore and violence originally depicted. I'm not sure if that is a good idea, because this film is not as gruesome nor as gory as some of its predecessors such as the 2003 version. Fans of the series may find this disappointing. What it lacks in brutality, it makes up for in its unique take on the story and narratives. This is the first film of the series where audiences may look at Leatherface from a different perspective. He may be seen as a hero for the very first time and not as the dark psychopathic villain we all love to hate. Disturbingly, some may even find themselves rooting for his victory later on in the film. This film showcases the humanity side of Leatherface, if that is even possible, and the special treatment he reserves for family members only. The film ends on a satisfying note while leaving it open for another sequel. Texas Chainsaw 3D also stars Trey Songz as Heather's boyfriend Ryan, Tanya Raymonde as Heather's bestfriend Nikki and Scott Eastwood as the town deputy Carl.

My biggest complaint about this film is the passage of time between this sequel and the original 1974 version. Technically, nearly 40 years have passed between the two films. However, the setting of this sequel claims to have taken place twenty years after the incidents that occur in the original 1974 version. This is confusing because iPhones arent invented in 1994 (twenty years after 1974). Yet, there is a scene where a hotshot cop, Officer Marvin (James MacDonald), uses his iPhone to video record his way into the monsters lair. Writers Adam Marcus and Debra Sullivan, et al, probably dont expect the audience to notice such frivolous plot hole in their story. Unfortunately, such an oversight does stick out like a sore thumb to some of us, especially to fans of the series.

Another disappointing feature about this film is its 3D format. Being presented in 3D, I dont think that anyone should have to pay more money for a mediocre 3D experience. None of the scenes in 3D has that wow factor. Theres one scene where the chainsaw is thrown directly at the audience and if done right, the chainsaw could have appeared to really jump out at the viewers in 3D. Instead, the disappointing 3D rendition makes it look horrible and fake. This film also doesnt feature a very likeable main character. Im especially not too fond of the way the main character Heather is portrayed. She is written off as someone who chooses to give her loyalty to a long lost grandmother that she has never met over her adopted parents who shes known for 20 years. The film shows her as someone whos ready to cut off her relationship with her adopted parents the minute she finds out theres an inheritance waiting for her. Shes also seen as someone who immediately forgets about her friends and their deaths as soon as she finds a new family. And worst of all, she is capable of sympathizing with a sadistic serial killer after all that hes done to her and her friends. Perhaps the writers intend for her character to behave like this so as to depict that a Sawyer is always going to be a Sawyer and that evil runs in their blood. However, if that is the case, then Im less inclined to look forward to the next installment because the plot to a potential sequel already seems to be very predictable.

The Hobbit (2012) Film Review

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After the success of New Line CinemasLord of the Ringtrilogy, its only natural that another one of J.R.R Tolkiens fantasy novel,The Hobbit, gets made into a movie. Unfortunately, delays for filming have been inevitable due to production rights and license in the hands of another studio, United Artists. In addition, disagreements between the films director, Peter Jackson, and New Line Cinema studio regarding profit sharing ofLord of the Ringput a strain on their relationship, nearly preventing Jackson from ever working with New Line Cinema ever again. But good things come to those who wait as the studio and Jackson learn to put their past behind just in the nick of time as United Artists right toThe Hobbitexpires in 2010. In the interest of milking as much money fromThe Hobbitas possible, the studio enlists Guillermo Del Torro to help co-write the novel as a trilogy. An Unexpected Journeyis the first of the trilogy and a decent prequel toLord of the Ring.

Martin Freeman playsThe Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, who is the central character in the story. He is Frodos uncle, the same Bilbo that makes his appearance in the first and third films of theLord of the Ringtrilogy. This movie opens with Bilbo deciding that its time to share another one of his stories with Frodo. The movie then takes us back 60 years to a young Bilbo Baggins who we see visited by Gandalf the Grey wizard (Sir Ian McKellan). Gandalf recruits Bilbo on a life-changing adventure to help Thorin (Richard Armitage), the leader of the Dwarves, reclaim the Lonely Mountain, a once thriving kingdom (of unsurpassed wealth and splendor) and pride of the Dwarves until its overtaken by a dragon called Smaug. The journey is fraught with dangers from orcs, trolls, necromancers and stone giants. This film will also explain how Bilbo unexpectedly finds Saurons ring and outsmart the Gollum (Andy Serkis) in a game of riddles. The CGI effects are well used in some of the scenes especially the fight scene between the stone giants.

The Hobbitis the first film to play on the big screen in high frame rate 3D, abbreviated (HFR 3D). Its a digital 3D motion picture format where higher frame rate is used (48 frames per second instead of the industry standard 24 fps). It makes the pictures noticeably sharper and provides almost the same viewing experience as watching it on blu-ray. The picture appears very lifelike and it almost seems like the action is taking place in real time right before your eyes. HFR 3D really enhances the movie experience in ways that are sure to impress movie-goers. Hopefully all future movies will adopt this format. My local theater plays this film in both HFR and standard 3D formats, so make sure you watch it in HFR 3D for the most optimal visual experience.

Ironically, whats expected fromThe UnexpectedJourney is that it may be slow at times since its a third of a trilogy, all based on one slender book. Therefore, theres not a lot of materials for it to work with and the film consequently suffers from lack of interesting plots to help drive the interest of viewers. Hence, the ending does disappoint because it cuts the film right when the plot becomes exciting and the audiences are left waiting another year to see what happens next. On the bright side, we get a very detailed visual storytelling ofThe Hobbit.

A charming movie with great characters and satisfying performances from all involved. The Dwarves provide cutesy comic relief thats needed on an otherwise dull journey. The orcs and Gollum come off as pretty scary and can frighten young children. Familiar faces make their cameos throughout this journey. Hugo Weaving returns as Elrond and the lovely Cate Blanchett looks enchanting as ever as Galadriel. Elijah Wood shows up briefly in the beginning as Frodo. All the returning actors look ageless in this new film.

Kudos to the make-up, costume and set design teams and of course the special effects team. They all contribute effectively to this beautiful film. It never occur to me how short the Dwarves are until they stand next to the Elves. Thats movie-magic. Howard Shores nostalgic tune and new materials blend in beautifully with the film. A wonderful collaboration from all the top talents in the industry is sure to mesmerize our visual and auditory senses once again. Its been almost 10 years since the last time the same team entices us withLord of the Ring. An Unexpected Journeyis a good start forThe Hobbittrilogy, but at close to 3 hours long with not a lot of materials to work with, it is actually kind of bland on its own.


Django Unchained (2012) Film Review

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D-J-A-N-G-O ("the D is silent") Unchained is a film by Quentin Tarantino starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L Jackson. Touted as a Spaghetti Western, this film production is anything but low budget and foreign. With a budget of 83 million dollars, it is filmed and produced primarily in California and other parts of the United States. It has its fair share of controversy that takes place in the old west and the deep south. Its excessive use of the N-word and over the top violence are bold, daring and nerve-rattling. Jamie Foxx stars as Django, a slave-turned bounty hunter with the help of a German dentist named Dr. King Schultz (played by Christoph Waltz). Dr. Schultz disguises as a dentist but is actually a bounty hunter himself, who roams across the country killing wanted criminals to collect ransom and monetary rewards. He recruits and trains Django to help him through the winter and in return, helps Django find and rescue his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) from her owner, Calvin Candie (played wonderfully by the talented Leonardo DiCaprio).

This film is bloody violent as expected of a Tarantino film (a la Kill Bill) where blood splatters everywhere during one heavy action scene. It portrays a realistic depiction of slavery in early America but doesn't take itself too seriously. Jamie Foxx plays his character with a straight face. This is another revenge movie like Tarantino's Kill Bill, except it's more wacky and playful. It has some funny dialogues delivered by some of the best actors of this generation. Christoph Waltz has the best lines in the movie and his character, Dr. King Schultz, is easily well-liked. Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Calvin Candie, is scripted as an evil racist plantation owner. Candie enjoys watching slaves fight to their deaths, and there's a horrific scene where he lets loose rabid dogs to attack a slave who refuses to fight. He grows up around slaves his entire life and questions why they never try to kill him. He makes a very racist observation about the skull of a black man in comparison to that of a white man. However, even with all that said, Dicaprio's portrayal of the character makes it hard to hate the guy. Samuel L Jackson plays Candie's Uncle Tom manservant named Stephen. He is almost unrecognizable in this movie. Stephen is very loyal to Candie, and even go to the extremes to argue with Candie about how Django shouldn't be treated as a guest nor be allowed to sleep in the house because he's Black. He punishes Broomhilda for her attempt to escape the plantation by locking her naked in a box out in the field. He sucks up to Candie any chance he can get, and Samuel L Jackson plays him excellently. Tarantino also makes a cameo later in the film.


This movie doesn't take itself too seriously, and neither should the audience. It's a fun movie to watch, and even campy at times. There's a funny scene with Don Johnson (as Spencer "Big Daddy" Bennett) and his gang preparing an ambush on Django and Schultz. They can't decide whether or not to wear a white mask over their heads during the ambush. It's laugh out loud funny watching the entire gang behaving childishly as they argue over such trivial things. Jonah Hill makes a very brief cameo here as one of the gang members. The film also features some original music tracks with enough catchy songs to fit every scenes perfectly. There's a scene where hip hop music plays in the background and (although may seem out of place since hip hop hasn't been invented back then) it does suit the ambiance appropriately. At almost 3 hours long, it does seem a bit long. There are a few moments where the film begins to lose its momentum but quickly catches up before any interest is lost. The final showdown is every bit as nerve-rattling as anyone could imagine. This is another fun movie by Tarantino with plenty of action and violence for fans of this genre.

Les Miserables (2012) Film Review

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The 2012 big screen adaptation of Les Miserables is a recent take on the popular musical based on Victor Hugo's famous novel. Les Miserables, considered as one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century, is a story about love, sacrifice, politics, justice, religion and moral philosophy. The novel essentially centers around Hugh Jackman's character, Jean Valjean, a very compassionate ex-convict who lives his remaining life as a fugitive on the run after stealing a loaf of bread for his hungry nephew.

Jean eventually becomes the mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer and owns a factory where Anne Hathaway's character, Fantine, works. She is later fired from her job because the workers and her supervisor discover that she has a daughter born out of wedlock. She then has to swallow her pride and succumb herself to lowly, vile occupations to support her child, Cosette. In the meantime, Jean's dark past catches up to him in the form of Javert (Russell Crowe), a police officer with a serious case of obsessive compulsive disorder. When Javert is after a target, he will make sure he gets his target. Jean eventually finds out that he has incidentally caused Fantine's misfortune and decides to make things right by promising Fantine on her deathbed that he will look after Cosette as his own daughter. Jean and Cosette then spend the next 8 years running from Javert. The film seems to showcase a cat and mouse chase between Jean and Javert with many subplots to entertain the audiences in between.

This film has great production value. The sets are beautifully staged and filmed. Costumes and art direction are top notched. It's a pleasant surprise to see Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway singing out their lungs beautifully to the songs from the original stage musical itself. Anne Hathaway does an impressive job with I Dreamed A Dream. Isabelle Allen looks strikingly similar to the original drawing of little Cosette by Emile Bayard. Amanda Seyfried plays Cosette's older self while Eddie Redmayne plays her love interest, Marius Pontmercy. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter star as the swindling innkeepers, Thenardier and Madame Thenardier, respectively.

Having never read the story nor watched any of the staged productions, I watch this film as a Les Miserables virgin. The story is very interesting, and the audiences are likely to react positively and emotionally to Jean Valjean's benevolence and random acts of kindness. Here is a man who on at least two occasions are given opportunities to put an end to his fugitive lifestyle. Instead, he chooses the moral path even when he knows full well that it will jeopardize his comfortable lifestyle, safety and well being. Jean Valjean is a virtuous, pious man and he does what few men can do if given the same choices, and Hugh Jackman does justice to the character. Anne Hathaway is also another standout performer in this film. Her character undergoes so many misfortunes that one can't help but feel sorry for her. Being able to stir this kind of emotion from audiences is no easy feat, and Anne Hathaway has successfully done it with her touching performance as Fantine. This film is a winner for fans of the musicals, but can be a little slow at times for everyone else. The singing can be a bit much for those who are not familiar with the musical. But I would recommend it for the story and grand production value as well as for both Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway's portrayals of the saintly Jean Valjean and Fantine, respectively.