We delve into the fascinating history of the Game & Watch handhelds and go a bit movie-marathon mad in this edition of Mosh Pit. At some point we ran out of popcorn, and suddenly things turned very Alive, very fast. Or turned very rum ham, you take your pick. We won’t ever look at each other the same way again.
The Unofficial Game & Watch Collector’s Guide – hardcover limited edition
RRP: Hardcover: €59.95 (does not include shipping) / Softcover: €39.95 (does not include shipping)
This book is really only going to be meaningful if you’re a gamer aged 36 and above. Of course this is a gross generalisation, but do feel free to post your own age and personal experiences with these wonders of early video gaming in the comments section below.
Authors David Gschmeilder (passionate collector of video games, consoles and computers) and Gerhard Meyer (a fan of retro games and consoles) worked on this project for almost three years, and the end result is a feature-packed journey of Nintendo LCD handheld games from 1980-1991.
When I [“I” being Michael James. – Ed.] was at school I owned Octopus (which I still have in a box packed away in a cupboard), so I was happy to find it featured in this book. Information included on its two-page spread details the game’s original release date (July 1981) as well as the premise behind the game, its versions, units produced, battery type and a rarity scale, which is all truly fascinating. Apparently the one I have is common so I guess I’ll have to wait another 30 years for it to become rare. Each of the 60 games covered in the book carries a QR code that can be scanned with your mobile phone which will link you to additional info online, including a video and the sounds of the game itself.
Besides the actual listed games, the book goes into detail about merchandise, print media and oddities in this world of early handhelds. There’s also a nice history lesson in the beginning and some information about the two very passionate authors of this great book. Based on my experience at school and growing up I never realised just how many of these games were made and all the different variations and styles. For a captivating and nostalgic trip down a very specific lane in your memory banks, this 208-page hardcover book is amazing.
Mad Max: Fury Road
The good news: director George Miller hasn’t lost it. This movie is something special. If you like explosions, guns, madness and cars driving fast and sand tornadoes and fighting and weirdness all wrapped up in a post-apocalyptic nightmare sandwich then Mad Max: Fury Road is perfect. The pace of this movie is relentless and even when it’s exploring character development and other relatively slow-paced moments it’s still compelling viewing.
The movie follows Mad Max (Tom Hardy) and Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) as they flee across the wasteland with some precious cargo liberated from a crazy warlord. It features warped religious culture, post-apocalyptic legends, myths and lore and bucket-loads of splendid gruesomeness – but somehow it stays within the 10-12 age restriction. This one is highly recommended and makes a damn fine addition to the Mad Max franchise.
Who doesn’t love Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? He pretty much guarantees that anything he’s in will be a fun ride and probably worth the price of a cinema ticket. This movie focuses on the big one: a massive, world-shaking earthquake that Hollywood seems to be obsessed with. The special effects spectacle of the Earth ripping apart, giant waves forming and many buildings falling down is worth the price of admission alone, so that box is firmly ticked. To be fair it’s pretty good and full of the exact kind of action you’d expect from a movie like this. There is a little depth in that Johnson joins forces with his ex-wife to rescue their only daughter from the disaster. Not only that, but the daughter finds her own way through the movie with two other survivors (a love interest and his younger brother). The environment and situation put the actors through their roles pretty well, resulting in a solid, no-brains popcorn stuffer with some decent cinematic magic.
If you didn’t approach this one with a little caution then you’re what the clinical specialists call a serial optimist. Coming away from a four-movie franchise that didn’t really sparkle much after Terminator 2: Judgement Day, this fifth movie needed to be something special. Arnold Schwarzenegger ties it all together with a fantastic performance and the new Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) along with Kyle Reese (the human sent back in time, played by Jai Courtney) fit their roles perfectly. The bad guy (or previously good guy, but then becomes a… no scratch that, let’s just leave it at “it’s complicated”) is played by Jason Clarke.
It’s good guys versus the machines again, but with a few interesting and unexpected twists. Without getting into the details this one is again all about traveling through time and creating a better future. We get to see a very young Sarah Connor and if you don’t worry too much about the science behind everything it’s a fun and sometimes emotional tale. Bottom line with this movie is that it feels fresh, there’s great action, plenty of humour (often in the oddest of places), and most importantly Terminator Genisys is a fun ride. For those skeptical moviegoers out there, this is easily the best Terminator movie in the last 24 years (yes, it’s been that long since Judgement Day).
Mark Wahlberg stars in this look at the life of a high-stakes gambler. John Goodman plays a gangster and Jessica Lange the mother with a dysfunctional relationship with Wahlberg. The story involves high stakes and risking it all, and oddly there’s a lesson to be had in the end. Wahlberg plays his role perfectly and proves that he can do just about anything well in the land of movies. It’s good and at times depressing since it’s more drama than anything else, but delivers its message and story at a moderately fair pace. Keep this one as a bit of a last resort because it’s not going to set your world on fire. It’s a middle-of-the-road drama/thriller that manages to land on its feet.
Beyond the Reach
A slow-cooking man-versus-man thriller set in the harsh Mojave Desert. A wealthy businessman (Michael Douglas) employs the services of a young guide (Jeremy Irvine) to help him on a hunting expedition. From the outset Douglas doesn’t play by the rules and this ultimately results in an accidental shooting. Irvine wants to report the accident but this doesn’t go down too well with the older man, putting the two of them at odds. Stuck out in the middle of nowhere Douglas decides to leave Irvine stripped and abandoned, thinking the desert will end him – but it’s never that simple. The story and plot mechanisms are far from original but work well enough for the movie. There are ups and downs, some excitement and tension but the movie runs out of steam at the end and gets a little silly here and there. Worth a watch on TV but don’t buy the collector’s edition or have any part of this tattooed on your body.
Movies like this really need to be very funny or very smart to win over an intelligent audience. Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara deliver the comedic hits in roles that are perfectly suited to them. Witherspoon is an uptight cop who must protect federal witness Vergara on what ends up being an accidental road trip with bad guys chasing them every step of the way. As you can expect there is a lot of what-are-you-wearing, falling-out-of-windows and running-away-screaming comedy. I’m sure these two actresses are better than this, but it looks like they had a lot of fun doing it so let’s not bash this effort too much. Laughs are hard to come by during the 88 minutes, but there is a nice message at the end and of course everyone goes home a winner. It’s light laughs for a lazy Sunday afternoon or at least something for everyone else to watch while you play a little Fallout 4. There probably won’t be a sequel or remake of this which is a plus point.