Bioshock 2 is a perfect sequel
Feb24

Bioshock 2 is a perfect sequel

Welcome back to Rapture. Bioshock 2 gives players a return to the underwater city of Rapture, the utopian dream city of founder Andrew Ryan. The 2007 game of the year, Bioshock, showed the flawed city in its raw form, and invited players to explore the underwater dream-turned-dungeon. The game made use of a mix of special powers called plasmids and heavy weaponry to combat the Splicers, Big Daddies and other opponents in order to escape Rapture. More importantly, the game offered an immersive experience, mixing in-depth storytelling, hi-def cinematic experiences and the ability to make moral decisions that would impact the end of the game. It’s sequel, Bioshock 2, delivers all the same extraordinary elements with a new story, new characters and an entirely new view of Rapture. Players begin the game as a Big Daddy, one of the most feared enemies of the original game. The main character, known only by its code name, “Delta” is a Big Daddy who just woke out of a coma and is in search of his Little Sister, who was taken from him more than 10 years earlier. The shift from being a human to becoming a fearsome Big Daddy is hard to describe. It is almost like the transformation from boy to man. It gives players more of a feeling of moral responsibility to the underwater world. The choices presented in the game certainly give Delta the chance to choose between the path of a ruthless, selfish killer and an upholder of the moral code, or somewhere in between. Each choice players make in the game has an effect on the ending, much like its predecessor and equally impressive Mass Effect 2. Bioshock 2 raises several moral and ethical questions, making you, the player, an authoritative fi gure in Rapture. This responsibility really pulls players into the game, inviting them to make the right (or wrong) choice; to be self-serving or to save lives. The relationship between a Big Daddy and Little Sister in the original game was never fully explained, but the story in Bioshock 2 gives players an insight into the strong emotional and physical bond between the two. Several new weapons and plasmids are introduced in the game. Players can use a 50-calibur machine gun, the rivet gun, a remote hacking tool, a grenade launcher and the Big Daddy drill to make their way through the depths of Rapture. Along with most of the plasmids from the original game, Bioshock 2 gives players the ability to use winter blast, an ice plasmid; cyclone trap, a defensive plasmid; Scout, which allows players to become invisible to survey the area;...

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In Dear John, letters keep love alive
Feb10

In Dear John, letters keep love alive

All the single ladies, you don’t have to join Beyonce at the dance party to enjoy this romantic emotional roller coaster ride about getting a ring put on it. Dear John, starring the ever- attractive Channing Tatum of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, is a pretty good film for girls’ night out − or the movie to beg your sweetie pie to take you to see for Valentine’s Day. Tatum, as John Tyree, joins Amanda Seyfried, who plays Savannah Curtis, a college girl who fi nds love by dropping her purse off a pier into the ocean. (John quickly jumps in, making Savannah’s then current boyfriend look like he cares more about his Polo shirt, even though he’s the reason the purse ended up in the water). Because the film is based on a book by Nicholas Sparks, also the author of The Notebook, viewers expect to be swept away by a gripping tale of passionate young love and the conflicts of living within different social strata. Passion, yes. Conflict, yes. Believable? Not completely. Without spoiling the film’s unexpected twists, it is obvious from the start of the movie that there is no easy way for most girls to put themselves in the shoes of Savannah. In fact, little that happens in this film is realistic, despite the fact many girls in relationships with soldiers deployed might relate more easily. For starters, the love story begins when John rescues Savannah’s purse from the ocean and is offered a beer for his walk home, and just two weeks later he is shipped back overseas. “I love you’s” are exchanged, as well as the first of many letters, which will be the only form of communication for the two lovebirds as they spend an entire year apart. Even though Tatum’s seemingly monotone declarations of love don’t always match the charm in his physique and intense gazes, girls will fall for his character right along with Savannah. For many love-hungering college ladies, it’s still necessary to bring the box of tissues to the theater. In one letter, Savanah claims that the two weeks she spent with John on the beach in North Carolina were so great that they will be more than enough to carry her through “just” one year apart. There are many similarities to Sparks’ previous chick flick hits, and though this brings predictability, it is what most viewers have come to expect. A scene that pulls heart strings is when Savanah takes John to see the Habitat for Humanity home she is helping to build. John says the way she uses her spare time is further proof that...

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Haiti gets star-studded help
Feb10

Haiti gets star-studded help

By Emily Keahey In the wake of the devastating earthquake that ravaged Haiti, celebrities have rallied together to help the relief effort. As the death toll rises, not only have stars given large amounts monetarily, but they have come up with other creative ways to inspire the rest of the world to give, as well. Sadly, even before the massive earthquake hit, the country was having problems. Their infrastructure was failing; roads were crumbling, bridges were falling down, water was rarely sanitary, electricity was not readily available, the government was ineffective and they were regularly pounded by hurricanes, but when the earthquake hit, all their problems intensified. An estimated 200,000 people have been killed, and another three million people are in need of emergency care. Immediately after the natural disaster, celebrities jumped into action; many donated money in large amounts to charitable organizations like Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross and Partners in Need. Some of the generous donors included Gisele Bundchen who donated 1.5 million. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Oprah and Sandra Bullock all gave one million, along with George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio. Although times are tough, celebrities are urging others to give whatever is possible; they have come up with creative ways to spur donations. Scarlett Johansson is auctioning herself. For the opening night of her Broadway show, A View from the Bridge, four people will not only get tickets to the show, but they will also get to meet her afterwards. Many musicians, including Rhianna, Jay-Z, Linkin Park and Bono, have released songs, and the proceeds from online downloads will be donated to relief organizations. Clooney organized and hosted a global telethon called Hope for Haiti Now. This two-hour star-studded affair aired Jan. 22 on several networks, including ABC, NBC and MTV. It had performances by Madonna, Sting, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Bono, Justin Timberlake and Coldplay. In addition to those musical acts, Denzel Washington, Nicole Kidman and Leonardo DiCaprio, among others, told stories about some of the earthquake victims while other celebrities were in the background answering phones. The event raised more than $61 million, which is going to be split up and given to seven different organizations. A live album was also made from the performances at the telethon. It features 20 tracks and all the money from sales will go to Haiti relief funds. Since it has been released, the album has broken countless records, including first digital-only album to top the Billboard 200 album chart and the highest one-day album pre-order in iTunes history. Wyclef Jean, who co-hosted the event with Clooney and is a Haitian-born musician, said in a statement, “I...

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Final season for Lost
Feb10

Final season for Lost

After months of anticipation, Lost has returned for the last time, bringing viewers to ask more questions about how the show will end. The sixth season, which was supposed to be flooded with answers, has done little to accomplish that expectation. A show about time traveling, highly advanced mathematics, parallel universes and complicated relationships naturally comes with confusion, but the lack of answers in the first episode of the final season was disappointing. A few revelations were made, though, which have been long awaited. The once and still dead John Locke as the embodiment of the Smoke Monster brought his character into major play, which has been a long-time build up since the first season. With this key information, the small insights into Locke’s life further confuse viewers as they wrestle with which universe and story is real. The island is shown at the bottom of the sea while following the airplane story, which supports Juliet’s claim from the grave that “It worked.” This would make sense that the island simply sank and could do no more to crash planes and change lives except that half of the time the stories of the characters are being lived out on that same island. The main conflicts of the show take place on the restless island, compared to the rather peaceful plane ride and post-flight world of the characters. Smoke Monster Locke convinces Ben to kill Jacob. Ben’s leadership has completely diminished and he now follows the orders of evil Locke against the godlike Jacob, who has always reigned supreme before. With Jacob dead and gone, the good force shifts to the location of the Temple where Hurley, Kate, Jin and Jack bring Sayid to be healed. In their attempts to heal him, the Temple people actually drown Sayid, but he overcomes death and wakes at the last minute. It is clear that the war is now in motion between Locke and the previously Jacob-led Temple people. Some of the main characters of the show seem to be simple bystanders in the beginnings of this war, but they are being further developed in the parallel world of the plane. Richard is on the side of Locke, along with Ben. This continues the ongoing tension between Locke and Jack, even though no one is looking to Jack for leadership. Jack and his crew are in the Temple with The Others, and eventually Miles and Sawyer join them. In the peaceful airport world, Jack and Locke have a friendly conversation as both are hoping to find something that’s missing. Jack’s father’s coffin has been misplaced, which might explain how Christian has previously shown...

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Faith survives post-apocalyptic world

The trailer does it no justice. What looks like an average action flick featuring Golden Globe and Academy Award winner Denzel Washington is actually much more. In The Book of Eli, Washington plays Eli, a man trying to survive on what is left of the post-apocalyptic earth. He has been walking for the past 30 years heading west after a revelation from God. Along the way, things are not easy due to his encounters with thieves and murderers. Water is precious, and when he arrives in a town that has some, he is persuaded to stay the night by a power hungry man who calls himself Carnegie (Gary Oldman, Harry Potter). Carnegie sends out men day after day in search of a book. This book is not just any book; he claims it has the power to manipulate people into doing whatever he wants. The book he wants is none other than the King James Bible. Eli coincidentally happens to be in possession of that very book, the last known copy due to widespread burnings after the final war. When Carnegie finds out, it becomes a full-on combat, machine guns included. A young woman, Solara (Mila Kunis, That 70’s Show), is sick of Carnegie and the way he treats her and her mother. She begs to go west with Eli in hope for a better future, but her involvement only adds to the drama. The movie definitely does not hold back on the violence and gore. Eli is particularly handy with a machete and when people get in his way, it is lethal. Washington fits the role perfectly. He can be both bad and good at the same time. He battles between his faith and what he must do in order to survive. A twist near the end will have viewers awestruck and inspired, but rooting for Eli even more. The movie is different from the typical end of times movie in the fact that it causes people to question their own faith and its power. It receives 4 out of 5...

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New series, Life Unexpected, wows fans
Jan26

New series, Life Unexpected, wows fans

It’s about time a show came out that’s worth an hour every week. Life Unexpected is the best show since Gilmore Girls, and it’s no surprise critics have compared it to the unique relationship between Lorelai, Rory and Chris and the teenage love drama in the independent film, Juno. For those who have been searching for a show to be a die-hard fan of, this may just be it. The pilot is catchy and the characters are inviting — viewers feel like they’ve known them since going to high school with them. The dialogue combines comedy, drama and emotion, and the relationship between the main characters is priceless. The show is about a 15-year-old girl named Lux — played by Britt Robertson — who is tossed from foster home to foster home and is searching for independence. Locating her parents so they can sign her emancipation documents, Lux finds her plan destroyed. The court dismisses her request and gives joint custody to her irresponsible father, Nate, played by Kristoffer Polaha, and her cynical mother, Cate Cassidy, played by Shiri Appleby. Unsurprisingly, the biological parents’ discovery of their daughter comes at a bad time. Nate is a bar owner who has no plans of growing up any time soon, and Cate is a successful radio talk-show host who just got engaged. But Cate realizes she can’t keep running from important relationships and invites Lux into her home. However, it’s not that easy. Though Cate and Nate hadn’t seen each other in the 15 years prior to Lux’s news, the high school partners’ juvenile attraction never graduated or moved on. It’s easy to see by the way they look at each other, they still have feelings for each other — which could pose as a problem for Cate’s fiancé and coworker Ryan Thomas, a sweet, gentle guy who’s willing to help take care of Lux. The relationship between the biological family of Cate, Nate and Lux is classic and easy to dive into beginning with the pilot episode. Life Unexpected is a cute show and is a good portrayal of a real-life situation without the corny soap-opera drama or the melodramatic teenage edge like the ones that come on Noggin. The show, which comes on at 8 p.m. Mondays on the CW, deserves 4 out of 5 bells and is a season...

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