It was the game that really kicked off the survival horror genre and is still remembered as a classic. That's why in 2002 it was remade for the Nintendo GameCube then ported over the Nintendo Wii in 2009. This remake is the real classic in my mind however and one my favorite horror games to this day.
How the Remake Differs from the Original
Most obviously, the graphics have been updated along with new areas & enemies for this version and they still hold up remarkably well for a ten year old game. The backgrounds are beautifully pre-rendered animations and that frees up a lot of processing power to allow character models & other effects to be incredibly detailed. “The mansion's confined hallways and dusty rooms offer a claustrophobic and helpless atmosphere that's been missing from previous episodes. And like the best horror films, RE Zero's environments are portrayed from camera viewpoints that leave you filled with dread at the prospect of what awaits you around the next corner.” (Wales on Sunday, Cardiff Wales, Sept. 22, 2002.)
The music and dialogue have thankfully also been updated. The original was pretty notorious for having terrible voice acting, "Jill, here's a lock pick. It might come in handy if you, the master of unlocking take it with you." Some may argue this was part of the campy, B movie charm that Resident Evil was going for, but I personally find these changes in the audio to be a lot less grating.
And before you ask, yes it still uses what are known as "tank controls.” Tank controls mean rather than pressing left to go left or right to go right, you pivot on the spot in the direction you press then use up or down to move forwards and backwards. It's definitely something to get used to but many people think it's just too hard. “Resident Evil Zero forces players to turn the character left and right with the analog stick and then push forward to move forward. This means no strafing or free movement of any kind. Some gamers will swear by this control scheme.” (IGG, Clementes, Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil Zero Review.)
RE’s Contribution to the Zombie Revival
Around the turn of the century, there was a zombie renaissance in the US. It started with films like “28 Days Later” and Zack Snyder’s remake of “Dawn of the Dead,” but Shinji Mikami's phenomenally popular Resident Evil video game - the most prominent of more than 70 zombie game titles - definitely played its part in the zombie revival. The game alone has spawned at least four movies starring B-queen Milla Jovovich, all of which could be considered “zombie flicks.”
For me, however, it's not only the zombies that create tension; it's the consequences of potentially crossing one. It's something few current gen horror games have given me. They just make it too easy to avoid or defeat enemies, and even if I die, so what? I saved only a few minutes ago.
Not in Resident Evil. Ammunition is scarce so you have to choose between wasting what little you have, finding another route if you can or whether it's worth risking damage by trying to run past an enemy despite the controls. That's all part of the game and if you die, you could be set back hours because even when you cross a save point, you have a limited number of items that let you use it. It gives this game the scariest thing of all - pacing.
It's the moments between encounters that are scariest of all. I play by creeping around, letting the fear grow and grow about what could be around the next corner and whether or not I'll be able to even survive long enough to get that next item I need to heal or save or progress. It's stressful but it makes the pay off all the sweeter and in a sick way, it's kind of fun.
It's fun to be scared. It's fun even when I get killed or have to play a part over and believe me those things will happen. It's encouraged to go through multiple times however because there's even two different playable characters, each with their own scenarios. This “replayability” and level of immersion definitely makes the Resident Evil Remake a game worth owning for those darkened evenings alone.
From the soundtrack for the upcoming kung fu flick The Man with the Iron Fists comes this funky new track by Streetlife, Freddie Gibbs and Method Man. I know what you're thinking "a member of the Wu Tang Clan collaborating on an Asian themed project?" It's unprecedented, yes, but hear me out. They're really good at it.
"Built For This" combines the sounds of both eastern and western live instrumentals with the gritty lyrics these artists are known for, turning it into another great tune that just makes you want to pull your arms in and start bobbing your head.
The video splices in clips of the movie along with clips of Method, Gibbs & Street doing what they do best. So check it out and if you like what you see/hear then be sure to watch out for other tracks from the official soundtrack being produced by fellow Wu Tang alumni the RZA, as well as the movie itself being released to theaters on November 2, 2012.
1964. His climbing achievements in the Yosemite Valley in the sixties set the tone and basis for what we now know as Modern Rock Climbing. In order to accomplish this feat, Yvon taught himself blacksmithing and used this skill to forge his own climbing tools. Some of the original pitons & anchors that he forged during these days still remain on El Capitan and are in use today. This new business allowed him to supply climbers with safe equipment, as well as fund his future adventuring trips. The company, named Chouinard Equipment, would eventually become the Black Diamond Equipment Company but would also spin off to become another force in the adventure gear business, Patagonia Clothing.
The inspiration of the name and logo for the Patagonia clothing company came during a 6 month trip to Chile that Yvon embarked on in 1968 with a group of friends, among them a young climbing enthusiast and entrepreneur named Douglas Tompkins. Doug was very much like Yvon in the sense that he sought adventure and in order to do so he started an adventure gear business called The North Face in the early sixties that would fund these ventures. The North Face company created tents that were among the first to remove the need of a center pole to support the tent, a design that is now copied in almost all tent designs available today.
It was on this trip in 1968 that Yvon and Doug set out in an old Ford van along the early Pan American highway to Chile in order to explore and climb the untouched wilderness of the Patagonia region. They decided to video tape their climb of Mount Fitzroy and this footage was used to create one of the most popular climbing films ever made, Mountain of Storms. It was this very film that almost forty years later would inspire a kindred spirit named Jeff Johnson to film 180° South, which is a modern day recreation of this trip.
180° South follows Jeff Johnson from his humble beginnings in Danville, CA to present day where he attempts to recreate the trip that Yvon & Doug took in the sixties. The world has changed significantly since then, with the convenience of paved roads and airplanes making a trip to Patagonia accessible to all. However, taking the easy route is the antithesis of what Jeff intends to do in this film. He opts to take the road less traveled and hitch a ride on a sailboat disembarking for Chile from Mexico. This decision almost immediately gives Jeff what he's been searching for as the crew runs into trouble in the rough seas of the Pacific, which forces them to take safe harbor on the Island of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island.
The crew eventually makes it to Chile where they meet up with Yvon and Doug, who are aware of Jeff's attempt to recreate their adventure and make themselves available to help the crew in any way they can. In fact, Yvon, now at the age of 73, decides to join the crew on their ascent of Corcovado, a stratovolcano located in Patagonia and his bush knowledge of the region comes in handy as they start their climb into the wilderness.
The remainder of the film follows the crew on the ascent of Corcovado but also diverges to focus on the conservation efforts being championed in Chile by Doug Tompkins. Doug started The Conservation Land Trust in the early nineties, an organization that is focused on protecting the wildlands of Chile and Argentina. We learn of the struggles of the indigenous people of Patagonia and their struggle against government and the industries that are destroying their homeland in the name of progress. We hear the stories of over-fished seas, water pollution and their fight against the government to preserve what has been their livelihood for generations.
Overall, the film delivers heavily for those seeking a classic adventure film in the vein of Mountain of Storms. Beautifully shot and set to a fantastic soundtrack, you'd be hard pressed to not walk away from this film with a sense of awe and admiration for those that travel off the beaten path. The underlying message of conservation comes through loud and clear; it is our responsibility as humans to preserve the roads less traveled by for those that will seek adventure after we are long gone.
1. You're an experienced model but you've never done anything quite like this before, where you had to remember lines and "act," as it were. What was different from this assignment and your typical modeling job? Which do you prefer and why?
True. Maybe its because I am living so close to Hollywood, people in the industry automatically assume I need their help in getting more ‘acting’ gigs. Not really, I already have a career in Fine Arts, which involves a lot of dedication, leaving me no time for the investment I believe acting requires. So I would like to make it clear that in no manner do I consider myself a talented actor, in fact I only accepted to take in the project because I find ‘hosting’ a show a much lighter responsibility than incorporating a character in a feature film or stage.
2. If you had this to do over again, what would you do different, if anything?
As I watched the footage I found myself very un-natural, and self-conscious. I hope I can exude a more relaxed vibe in future hosting gigs. I also think it would help if I had written the script myself, but I am aware that hosting requires embracing a script written by another person graciously.
That is a funny question, since modeling is not like making art-work, where I can be engaged on the same body of work for a season or even a year, it is so fast paced and I am not my own boss, I seldom get more than 3 days notice when being booked for a music video, and usually around a week when being booked for a photo-shoot. So I haven’t got much of an idea of what the future holds for me in terms of my modeling career, but I do keep a record of how much work I get every month and it is safe to say that chart is rocketing!
4.You're at Otis College of Art & Design which ranks #27 in Fine Art college in U.S. News Best Grad School Rankings. What is your major and when are you set to graduate? What are your career plans post graduation?
I don’t like that question, graduating freaks me out, and the real world of the Art Industry is very intimidating. I am majoring in Panting & Sculpture/New Genres. I do have plans, I just don’t want to talk about them yet, they might change!
5. This is your third time collaborating with Indo from Indosplace.com. Why do you think you guys work well together?
Indo noticed me and believed in my potential before I had ever been published or gotten much exposure, which I appreciate. All the pictures we have taken together have been the most popular in my portfolio, due to his meticulous planning of location, wardrobe, and hair/makeup, which comes off as fresh and effortless on the pics since nothing is ever overdone. Most importantly, there is great value in working with someone respectful, professional, and that doesn’t spend the whole time bragging about his connections and achievements. There are few in this industry and City.
6. You introduced yourself as being from Curitiba, Brazil voted by Reader’s Digest is one of the best cities to live in Brazil. Can you tell us a little something about Curitiba?
There’s no place like home. I’m a huge patriot, which is common amongst Brazilians. I find it very important to represent my country positively while I am living outside of it. And I try to do so both through my art and modeling. Curitiba is just the right size, small enough that you will always see some friendly faces when going out to a bar or club, and big enough that you will always get a chance to meet new people. And yes, we have a great public transportation system, much more efficient than the one in LA.
Smiley represents a paradigm shift from the old school, exclusive way of making films, to the new media template forged by websites like YouTube and Blip.tv. This movie is the result of Michael Gallagher parlaying his success with “Totally Sketch” into a film deal. That means this movie was not concocted behind closed doors by some studio snobs who all go skiing together. Instead, it was made by the people for the people. And it shows.
Cameos by the who’s who of the internet world abound, including Bree Essrig and Nikki Limo - familiar faces from Totally Sketch. Also, the characters who round off this cast of internet misfits feels more authentic than if you had forty-something executives guessing at it. For example, the actors in the first party scenes come in all shapes, sizes and colors and something about it just rings more true - not like the plastic-y, overly glammed actors you might see in something like Scream 4.
Smiley explores the urban legend of a stitch-faced killer who magically appears behind the unlucky victim of a video chat where the other person types “I did it for the lulz” three times. Ashley, played very nicely by Caitlin Gerard (I’ll always remember her as the girl Mark Zuckerberg and Sean Parker were ogling in “The Social Network” ) moves in with Proxy, spritely embodied by actress Melanie Papalia, as they start college. Proxy immediately introduces the naive Caitlin to the world of the underground interwebz - 4chan message boards, hackers, network security specialists, etc. - and takes her to a party where a number of LA-based members from an anonymous board are all socializing under their online nicknames. While there, Ashly, Proxy and a few others parses off from the crowd and put the smiley legend to the test in real time. To everyone’s surprise, especially Ashley, it works. Enter victim number one.
From there, the usual slasher flick type story unfolds. More people die while our protagonist wonders if she is imagining it all or if Smiley is real. The acting is solid in this movie, especially the leads. Andrew James Allen is especially good. I haven’t seen an asshole character this likable since Seann William Scott’s Stiffler from American Pie. The story is also intriguing and there is a meditative element brought out through classroom scenes where the teacher explores themes played out in the movie. I also liked the notion that all the evil brought about through the web has come into being through Smiley.
The biggest issue with this movie is, ironically, the lack of studio polish in terms of the look of the film. It just isn’t very pleasant visually - zero production design. But it is actually scary in parts, which gives it a leg up on most horror films produced these days. One appearance by Smiley toward the end of the film is especially unnerving. Let me just put it this way: you probably won’t be typing “I did it for the lulz” anytime soon in a chat room. Mission accomplished.