One of the RPG titles to look forward to in 2016 is the release of Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization, which is the fourth installment of the popular franchise. Known for its sumptuous visuals and expansive storytelling, the game will be available on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita consoles.
The story has gamers taking on the role of Kiriko, a hero who enters a new virtual world named “Sword Art: Origin.” The title is a collaboration with Sword Art Online creator Reki Kawahara, so expect this virtual reality adventure to hopefully harken back to as well as grow the entire SOA universe.
“The Sword Art Online franchise has experienced incredible growth in popularity on a global level with light-novel and anime fans. We are excited to bring Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization, the next Sword Art Online game, to fans in the Americas,” said BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, Inc. VP of Marketing Eric Hartness. “With Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization, we’re striving to take fans even further into Sword Art Online’s VRMMORG (virtual reality massive multiplayer online role playing game) world. We hope players are ready for the challenge.”
There is no specific date release for the title, but we’ll post the info as soon as the specific date is released and also review the title!
The NFL has found itself under the microscope in recent years for the way in which it has dealt with everything from drug use to domestic violence, but an even bigger issue for the men who play the game has been the effects that the long term impact that the beautiful but brutal sport has left them in long after the final whistle has blown. That serves as the basis for Concussion, the new film that takes a more in depth look at the man who uncovered the cranial trauma that was affecting so many former players.
Will Smith stars as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a principled and highly educated coroner in Pittsburgh who discovered CTE after performing the autopsy on NFL Hall of Famer and Pittsburgh Steelers great Mike Webster. As we see early in the film, Webster (David Morse) appears to have gone crazy, living in his vehicle, separated from his family and often seeking either medication or more extreme ways to alleviate the voices in his head. Much to the surprise of Omalu, who was on duty when Webster’s body arrived, the initial look of the brain was consistent with a man of 50, but did not explain why he went crazy at such a young age. The persistent Omalu then orders a series of tests to further investigate, much to the consternation of one colleague (Mike O’Malley) and with a word of caution from his boss, Dr. Cyril Wecht (Albert Brooks), who realizes the can of worms this can open up if something is found that paints the NFL in a bad light.
Omalu eventually discovers CTE, a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in those with repeated trauma, and he authors a paper on it. But it’s not long before the NFL gets wind and attempts to discredit him. So Omalu takes his findings to the press, and that’s when the threatening phone calls come in. But amidst all the calls, there is one, from a Dr. Julian Bailes (Alec Baldwin) that suggests that while he is “in trouble,” he’s not wrong. Bailes is a former Steelers team physician, who meets with Omalu, sees his findings and helps sets him on a path to bringing CET to the NFL’s attention. As you might expect, Omalu’s desire to do the right thing often conflicts with the NFL’s desire to keep things business as usual and he’s met with much resistance at each step.
As for the film itself, Concussion serves more as a biopic about Omalu. We see the dedicated doc fall for a Nigerian woman (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) whom he takes in at his church’s request, we see how his discovery affects their relationship over time and we see how the NFL’s dogged determination to deny his discovery led him to question how far he was willing to go for them to hear what he had to say.
There’s no denying that Smith’s acting and portrayal of Omalu is top notch and the overall story intriguing, but there’s just something holding this film back. It feels as though the movie is a tad long and while Omalu’s story should be the centerpiece, the players affected with CTE are often glossed over. Their stories are told in brief scenes where we see them at their most pained moments before taking their lives. While powerful and making the point, it could have perhaps been more impactful to see the changes to their personality over time. Only briefly do we see this portrayed through Dave Duerson, a former player high up in the NFL offices and staunch supporter of the league who initially denied fellow players seeking help. But later Duerson would suffer from CTE himself, taking his own life but having the cognizance to leave the brain intact for study. It was ultimately Duerson’s sacrifice that led to the NFL having to listen to and entertain Omalu’s findings.
Although the final days of the year are usually devoted, at least film wise, to discussing the best and worst movies of the year, it’s also advantageous to know what movies may strike our fancy in 2016. One of the comedies we’re looking forward to is The Brothers Grimsby, which features the unlikely pairing of Sacha Baron Cohen (The Dictator, Bruno) and Mark Strong (Robin Hood).
Cohen’s comedy, which blends outrageous situations with subtly topical humor, and Strong’s penchant for playing laser focused protagonists should provide a wonderful mix to the film. Louis Leterrier, who directed the 2013 hit Now You See Me, is behind the camera, and all this top talent should translate into solid entertainment fare. Plus, the idea of long lost brothers (Cohen’s a soccer hooligan, Strong’s a spy) bonding while the world’s safety hangs in the balance also makes for an engagingly ridiculous plot.
Check out the trailer below (the recently released poster, featuring Cohen balancing a gun and a pint of beer, is also pretty amusing), and tell us if you’re also excited to see The Brothers Grimsby!
Concussion centers on Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist who discovered that football injuries which originated from repeated hits to the head could lead to early-onset dementia. His 2002 findings of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) on late NFL football player Mike Webster was not exactly met with open arms, especially since the NFL is arguably America’s most popular sport.
“It really plays into my strong suits when I can talk to the person,” said Smith. “It’s much more terrifying (with) the end product because you know one day you’re going to be sitting in the movie with person while you butcher their life (laughs)! It’s terrifying in that sense.”
Thanks to his work in Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness, Smith is comfortable playing real life character. By spending a healthy share of time with Omalu and realizing the spiritual approach the doctor took to his profession, Smith found his way into the role and the narrative.
Click on the media bar below to hear Will Smith talk about meeting Dr. Bennet Omalu in preparation for Concussion.
Co-starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Alec Baldwin, Concussion opens Christmas Day.
Described as the “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some is Richard Linklater’s (Boyhood) look at a group of college baseball players in the 1980s. Since Dazed & Confused served as a starting point for many an actor’s career (including Matthew McConaughey and Ben Affleck), it will be interesting to see if, twenty years from now, Everybody Wants Some will have a similar effect on the careers of Blake Jenner and Ryan Guzman.
Coming of age stories is a bread and butter topic for Richard Linklater who, in a storied and diverse directing career rarely misses the mark (The Newton Boys did have its moments!). Even Me and Orson Welles, one of Linklater’s woefully overlooked films, featured one of Zac Efron’s strongest performances to date.
Expect Everybody Wants Some to continue Linklater’s creative hot streak, and as much as we’re looking forward for the director to cover the “greed is good” decade, we hope it’s not another decade or two before he sets his sights on the 1990s! Check out the trailer below and tell us if you’re excited about Everybody Wants Some!