When I was a boy, I was what they would nowadays call a gamer. It started with a little Texas Instruments device my father bought when I was maybe six years old. It had a little keyboard and a place to insert cartridges to play some very rudimentary games. A year or two later, we got an Atari 2600 and I was completely hooked. In 1985, the first Nintendo Entertainment System came out and I played it nearly every waking hour. My brother used to taunt me about it calling me a “Nintendo Nerd” or “NN” for short. He was just as addicted as I was but my brother never let a chance to torment me pass him by.
I continued to play games obsessively through the Super Nintendo but after that, things dried up for awhile. My college roommate bought a Nintendo 64 but by that point I was kind of over the whole thing. Truth be told, games like Goldeneye which used a first-person perspective with realistic (for the time) graphics tended to make me car sick.
My brother remained a gamer for many more years and he briefly sucked me back in with his PlayStation. Every now and again, he’d invite me over and we’d play one of the Final Fantasy games or some such thing. One of his favorites was Resident Evil, a survival horror game in which you play a woman who finds herself in a town infested with zombies. I was a big horror fan and loved zombie movies so the game was right up my alley. Ultimately, I did wind up buying a Playstation and that game, but on my own, I never actually played that much. It was too much trouble hooking and unhooking up it and my DVD player to my only television. DVDs won out in that battle and I now wonder if I’d be writing for some game website now instead of Cinema Sentries if I’d just left the PlayStation plugged in rather than the DVD player.
I gave up the games (though my wife my disagree with that statement considering how often I play casual games like Angry Birds on my tablet) but the feeling that Resident Evil was able to capture stayed with me. The game became a hugely successful franchise spawning numerous sequels, books, comics, and a movie series. Honestly, I’ve never paid attention to any of them, but I always kind if wish I had.
Which brings us to the pick of the week. I’ve never watched any of the Resident Evil films. They’ve always received fairly terrible reviews, but I always stick them on my too-see list as a guilty-pleasure hopeful. This week is rather lousy with interesting releases so potential guilty pleasures get bumped to the top. I won’t be buying Resident Evil: The Final Chapter any time soon but hopefully this will remind me that I ought to watch the first one sometime and then maybe I’ll drag out the old PlayStation and fire up the game.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
The Mummy Ultimate Collection/The Mummy: Complete Legacy Collection: Universal Studios is trying to revamp their classic monster movies with an updated take on the old Mummy movies starring Tom Cruise. As part of the ramp-up for that movie they are releasing nice-looking packages of the classic Mummy series plus the Brendan Frasier films from the late '90s.
The Space Between Us: Asa Butterfield plays Gardner, the first boy ever to be born on Mars. He falls in love with an Earth girl and makes plans to travel back and meet her, but his body not being used to Earth’s gravity will likely be killed by it if he stays too long. Surprisingly, that silly-sounding story is not based on a YA novel, but is an original story.
Good Morning (Criterion Collection): Yasujiro Ozu film about two boys who go on a no-talking strike after their parents refuse to buy them a television. I’ve never seen an Ozu film, a great big gap in my cinematic education that really ought to be filled soon.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage: I’ve never seen an xXx film but that’s a gap I’m happy to keep open.