Archive for March, 2010

Wolfman Review

March 5, 2010 Leave a comment

By Jeff Crisafi

(Photo Universal Pictures)

In the movie Wolfman, nobleman Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) is lured back to his family’s estate after his brother suddenly vanishes. Talbot is reunited with his distant father, and in his search for his brother, Talbot soon finds a horrifying destiny for himself. After years and years of trying to forget and recover, Talbot’s brother’s fiancee, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt) finds him and asks for his help to find his brother. He soon learns that the townspeople are being killed by an animal of brute strength.

The special effects in the movie, especially of the change from human to werewolf, are astounding. The fur on the actors’ faces looks so real, it’s almost as if there isn’t any make-up or special effects at all. The plot for the film is fast paced and will have you on the edge of your seat. The sound effects for were also very well-done.

However, this movie contains more gore, blood, and violence than most movies featuring multiple decapitations. The actors for the movie have been chosen very well, with the exception of Lawrence. Del Toro leaves the viewer to believe that he has no emotions or feelings because of his facial expressions.

In the end I rate this movie a 4 out of 5 due to the poor lead-role casting and the excessive amount of blood and gore.

Categories: Reviews Tags: , ,

Thai Satay Review

March 4, 2010 Leave a comment

By Kamille Mercado

(Photo Marivic Victoria)

The taste of Thai adds variety to the melting pot of restaurants in South San Francisco. Thai Satay, located on the corner of Grand Avenue and South Linden Avenue, is an affordable, family-friendly restaurant with quality food and prompt service.

I began the meal with an order of satay as an appetizer, an excellent start. This traditional Thai dish, with choice of chicken, beef, shrimp, or calamari, comes with a sweet peanut dipping sauce and cucumber salad. The sourness of the salad’s rice vinegar cleansed the palate and had a wonderful crunchiness to it. For the main course, my order of sweet basil chicken, colorfully presented with vegetable garnishes and served hot from the kitchen, was very tasty, with a delightful hint of spiciness. Another traditional Thai dish that I absolutely loved was the pad thai, which sent a burst of savory flavor in my mouth. Each bite had a balanced mix of sweetness, spiciness, and saltiness, and the noodles were not too long nor chewy. The Thai iced tea was a yummy choice for a drink, not very strong, sweet, or filling. To finish off the meal, an order of fried banana with ice cream left me happily satisfied. The average meal costs for this restaurant range from $40 to $50; my bill was about $40 for the three dishes, dessert, and drink.

The food is exceptionally tasty and well cooked, service is quick, and the waiters are friendly. Ranging from meat to seafood, you have the option to request the level of spiciness for your dishes. The curry dishes are not overly rich or spicy, and the seafood panang is popular among customers. This restaurant also has a vegetarian menu, including appetizing dishes from vegetable curry to tofu pad thai. Thai Satay even holds banquets for parties and provides catering deliveries for free.

Situated in a bustling area of Grand Avenue, parking may be inconvenient. Spaces are limited and any available parking is coin metered.

Overall, I highly recommend Thai Satay—open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.—to anyone looking for a quickly served, delicious Thai meal that won’t drain too much money from your wallet. Thai Satay deserves 4 out of 5 stars.

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Bioshock 2 Review

March 4, 2010 Leave a comment

By Steven Hansen

(Photo 2K Games)

Imagine an expansive, skyscraper laden underwater dystopia, underscored by a hauntingly art deco flair, called “Rapture,” created by megalomaniac Andrew Ryan who championed the individual. It’s not a stretch to imagine for those who played Irrational Games’ highly lauded “Game of the Year” Bioshock. What is hard to imagine, however, is how 2K Marin, with some of the first game’s staff, was going to try and get over a bar already set so high. Fortunately for fans, Bioshock 2 at least matched the effort put forth by its predecessor and even surpass it in some ways.

As opposed to playing as the previous ill-fated protagonist Jack, the player dons the helmets and boots of a Big Daddy searching for a particular Little Sister, ten years after the events of the first game. A new antagonist has managed to take hold of Rapture in the form of Sofia Lamb, a collectivist who acts as a foil to Ryan’s belief in the determination of the individual.

(Photo 2K Games)

Rapture does lose some of its mystique the second time around, but the world still has plenty left over from the last time, while adding new locales augmented by a meticulous attention to detail to make sure the world feels just as alive, just as hauntingly distraught.

Like the prequel, the game revolves around the character being set to accomplish certain tasks in the different locations of Rapture, all which open up the advancement of the main storyline. The Splicers – genetically defunct and violently insane civilians – return as the primary enemies, with additions such as the Brute Splicers, which can take more damage. Most notable, however, is the Big Sister – essentially a skinny, agile, and even more tenacious version of a Big Daddy – who adds another layer of intensity and variety to combat.

(Photo 2K Games)

As a Big Daddy, the player is able to interact with the Little Sisters – small girls who wander around Rapture, protected by Big Daddies, sticking needles into bodies to drain and ingest genetic material called ADAM – in a new way. The player can “adopt” Little Sisters and search for bodies to drain ADAM from. This initiates a defense sequence where the player must protect the Little Sister from ravenous, ADAM-craving Splicers while she drains the bodies. The player is also presented with an option similar of the first game, allowing either the harvesting (essentially killing) or rescuing of the Little Sisters, the latter resulting in less ADAM for the player.

(Photo 2K Games)

Bioshock 2 also features a surprisingly entertaining multiplayer component, with several game modes. Taking place 10 years prior to the events of the game, during the Civil War period of Rapture, the multiplayer also features tidbits of narrative, along with its very Call of Duty-like progression system. It’s ultimately fun and surprisingly original, though it remains to be seen if it will have any staying power. The game also lacks dedicated servers, meaning that lag can be a legitimate issue at times, depending on the other players’ connections.

Bioshock 2 is a particularly refined title, improving in various ways over the original. The characters don’t have the fascinating qualities as those from the first game, but they remain fairly complex. Bioshock 2 still wrestles in the gray areas of the first, from the moral choices of the players to the philosophies and motives of the supporting cast to simply interesting character studies of some of gaming’s more complex characters. Couple all of this with the still-present terrifying, eerie, and much alive atmosphere along with solid gameplay mechanics, and Bioshock 2 is a stellar title, uniquely interesting in narrative, that manages to fire on all cylinders and live up to the level of quality expected after our first foray into Rapture.