This week's box office offers eight movies from the highly anticipated frag movie of Chinese Quaker Jibo (manJu) to a sequel with a lot to live up to in 'Pondfiller 3' and an unseen outing from miniwalle which many will be surprised to find. Finally, continuing the tradition you've come to know and love there's, of course, some classic movie magic at the end to leave you in a warm and content haze when you hit the doors.
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A compilation of kills by famed Chinese Quaker Jibo (a.k.a. RazerJ) who resided in Russia for some time.
I've always had a soft spot for frag movies about the top players and this one is no exception. There are a lot of good kills and sequences in this movie and some of the kills at times are really wild. The flick rails in particular stand out as some of them border on impossible when you see them, faster than you can even seen the model of the opponent. The music helps create a nice atmosphere which is quasi-epic and feels cinematic throughout.
The kills could perhaps have done with a little trimming, a few shouldn't have been in there alongside some of the amazing ones. Even so I did like some of the creative editing which showed off action in different ways but still had merit, didn't disappear off into the realm of doing something to show off purely editing skills. The rockets have a very solid feel in this movie and it seems like their impact feels more significant than in other movies.
The capture of this movie is an area I kind of have an off feeling about. For some reason the raw action seems a little jerky or not smooth like I have come to expect from modern day Quake movies. The text was also too small, in the case of one quote way too small. If the action had been smoother it would really have elevated this movie into something a bit more special. As it is it's a good movie of a really good player with a nice atmosphere soundtrack-wise, and I can get behind that.
Thorin Rating: 8/10
Name: oskar! High Voltage
A compilation of kills from former nEph and current eSuba player oskar! who is considered to be perhaps the czech republic's best individual player.
In my quest for great movie action I'm often going down virtual sidestreets looking for any movies which feature top players from any countries and then looking for sequels/prequels/movies by other editors about them. It can be a fruitless search at times and turn up a lot of bad movies but when I find one which delivers and which I likely wouldn't have seen otherwise it becomes an entirely worthwhile enterprise. This movie is a good example of such a scenario.
This movie kind of blew me away, though not in a full on tornado hitting my small town and leaving the place with no doors, cars overturned and people in storm cellars kind of way. More like my expectations for it were quite low going in and when it finished I couldn't quite believe how good it had actually been. Even during the viewing experience part of me expected it to drop a level yet it didn't.
This movie has really good frag it and at a consistent level from start to finish. What's amusing is that some of the least enjoyable frags come early on so while that may not get you pumped initially it means your excitement level grows as the movie goes on and you soon expect almost anything from oskar!. The kills I am thinking of when I say that are the early sequences against mouz and MYM.pl, it seems quite obvious to me that these were included due to the stature of the opposition, and even the quality of the kills, though the lag really reduces how specatular they come off for the viewer. After that though it's pretty much top draw stuff all the way out.
I didn't expect that much from oskar mainly because his teams have never been good on an international level, they get handled quite easily by any decently known European team so it leaves the spectator with an understandable natural reaction that they must not be as skilled. However the kills in this movie really are very nice and I expect many many people who watch it are going to be impressed and even interested to see more of oskar!'s career after this movie. I've always had a theory floating around in my head that every decently sized country has one very good player who if he had the right team could make a run at potentially becoming a great player. The problem is that you typically need at least two of these or more depending on how many solid role players you have. Perhaps that is eSuba's problem.
This movie really doesn't have much in the way of editing. The transitions are very simple and there are no effects basically. Those aren't complaints for me though, I saw a feast of good and great frags and was able to sit back and soak them in without ever being distracted or annoyed. Likewise this movie doesn't feature in-game sounds and yet for the first 2/3rd this wasn't a problem at all for me. In-game sounds are not an absolute must unless they enhance the experience imo. So in this scenario I had no problem with them not being included, though when the musical pace slowed in the last third and a couple of sequences seemed a little too long then I did feel like in-game sounds suddenly felt missing and a little bit of editing in terms of speeding up slower moments could have tweaked this to make it an even better and more tight movie.
Another sign that this was a good movie is that the music was never an issue for me, all of it seemed fine throughout because I was immersed in the action. There really wasn't synching either but again it wasn't an issue or something I found myself thinking about during the movie. No frills and no indulgances but a really good viewing experience for those looking for some high quality and unexpectedly good frags in large quantity.
Thorin Rating: 7.5/10
Name: pondfiller 3
The third, and final but uncompleted, movie starring pondfiller, of clan SLP.
This movie had a lot to live up to since pondfiller 2 was a high level movie with a lot of wild kills and really good sequences in it. This movie doesn't quite reach that level. It's not even just in the kills, though some are the kind which are really difficult to do but not as satisfying to watch. Even so there are lots and lots of good, really good and occasionally great kills in this movie. The music is tolerable and at times ok. The editing seems fine and doesn't get in the way but keeps the movie rolling along.
Giving this movie an 8/10 says that it's a really good movie so it is a little strange that somehow I still feel a bit underwhelmed by this movie. Like it had all the pieces on paper but somehow just didn't cause sparks the way it should have. The relentless barrage of noscope AWP kills should have excited me a little more or made me say wow. Rather you get a highly consistent kill output and a good movie, even really good some of the time, just it doesn't quite have that fifth gear. Not quite as good as the second movie.
Thorin Rating: 8/10
Name: Manne - Heartbeats
A compilation of kills by Swedish PlayZone.se player manne.
I have a soft spot in my heart for this movie despite the fact there are a number of aspects to it that would irritate me in isolation. The action is often cut too rapidly so that milliseconds after a kill the angle suddenly snaps to a third person view to the extent that it doesn't allow you to properly enjoy the kill, before you've had time to process it your headspace is teleported somewhere else. Likewise there are a bunch of effects which appears and sometimes even block the crosshair area only a fraction of a moment after the kill itself. This is nearly always a big no-no that weighs heavily upon a movie.
In this case those things aren't a big deal for me. That's because this movie is a really complete package and it all blends together so nicely that it feels like one entity when I'm watching it. The music is excellent and I've rewatched this movie before just to listen to these two tracks again, which essentially should make my point about why I like the movie: I could just get these two tracks on their own and listen to them but the entire experience of viewing the movie as a whole adds an extra dimension to my enjoyment of them.
This is a movie with soul and a good example of a movie which taps into the flow of the action and the music and brings them together using effects and synching. The frags do lose a little of their impact in one or two places but this movie is successful enough on other levels to gain a little leeway. There are some really good frags in this movie, despite its length, and the consistency is really high. Think of this more as a great minimovie, about as mini as they are going to come in terms of runtime. This minimovie doesn't rob you though, the frags fill almost the entirety of the viewing experience and there's no filler. Short but oh so sweet.
Thorin Rating: 7.5/10
Download: filefront, xetyh.net (right click, save-as)
A compilation of HeatoN and SpawN's kills created for a Brazilian movie making contest.
This is a movie with a lot of flaws but also one which I get the feeling people in general will want to get a chance to see. Even to this day SpawN and HeatoN endure as two of the most magnetic names in Counter-Strike and people will always want to see movies of their actions from over the years. This movie has way too many eco frags, especially when we're talking about two of the all times greats who have truckloads of footage which could potentially be used. The effects are also a little too obvious and a little too cheesy most of the time. Throw in that a bunch of the footage is from laggy HLTV and this was never going to rock the charts.
With all of that said there is something likeable about this movie. Even the excessive amount of eco frags are watchable in some cases because there are some good kills regardless. The movie's best quality is that it has a good pace to it, it has a momentum which crosses over from the soundtrack to the action and carries you through the movie. All in all I think it comes out somewhere near the middle and ends up being an average movie. If you love HeatoN and SpawN give it a watch but if you're looking for any kind of excellence you can skip it.
Thorin Rating: 5/10
Stream: SK Gaming
Name: miniwalle - kortfilmenisighej
The completed parts of an unfinished movie from miniwalle, brother of walle and former player for spiXel and SPEED-LINK.
Many thousands of CS movie fans have enjoyed the broderna wallenberg series and hailed them, rightfully so, as some of the best movies of all time. Sadly few have ever seen this unfinished movie which based on what we have completed would have been another classic most likely. This movie features miniwalle showing off some great kills against some of the best players of the era. Some of the kills are really impressive and a few have dated a little or are in there because of who they are against on LAN. The editing is quite minimal and likewise the effects. The music is very cheesy but when the frags are this good and this alluring due to being unseen footage snatched from the recycle bin of moviemaking it's hard to do anything but enjoy this glimpse into a movie which will never be.
Think of this as the last miniwalle movie, a true minimovie if you will.
Thorin Rating: 7/10
Name: Smooth Frags
A compilation of kills by CLX, once a semi-pro level Norwegian Q3 player playing for teams like VSE (Violence Solves Everything)
This movie is a fun way in every respect, though it has dated a little in many too. The soundtrack is great and features a lot of very well known songs but they fit the type of action being shown and make the runtime seem a lot shorter than it actually is. The frags are good and get better as the movie goes on. At times they are really good and even though this are has suffered a little wear over the years there's no doubting this is a good frag movie. There are tons and tons of good frags and the variety is really excellent as you see all kinds of kills in different situations and with different guns.
That many of the kills are against top Scandinavian players of the era is nice too and adds to the impact of the sequences. All in all if you're looking for some good Quake III action this movie is a good place to start. It's running time is much longer than most movies and yet that becomes a positive rather than a negative as the quality of the kills and the consistent level of the soundtrack keep you in your seat. Any movie which can keep you contented for over 15 minutes, has a good vibe to the music and delivers a lot of good action is a keeper in my book.
A movie with a distinct feel and an all around nice effort.
Thorin Rating: 7.5/10
Download: whodah.com (right click, save-as)
Classic movie magic
Name: The Badge v3.0
Editors: strandtyp and ironcock
The third movie in 'The Badge' series by strandtyp and ironcock.
The first badge movie was an amateurish effort not even worth hunting down. The second badge movie, featured as last week's 'Classic movie magic' was a very good movie which was both ahead of its time and impressive in the scope of what it managed to do. The badge v3.0 is another league entirely. This movie blew my mind in the best possible way. It expanded the horizons of what I even thought was possible within a Quake 3 movie. It showed me grace and beauty I had only ever seen short glimpse of in other movies. It created and maintained an atmospheric feeling comparable to the best of real cinema. To me this movie is sacred.
Did anyone ever express a better understanding of timing and cinemetic atmosphere than these two editors in this movie? Their ability to slow the action to create moments of tension, to embody almost awe-inspiring grace and then to speed it up to create a frenzy of action, gibs and movement is incomparable to anyone else's efforts within the gaming movie genre.
They took an excellent Danny Elfman soundtrack and made it their own with superlative synching and understanding of how to use the key moments of the track. Synching can often be annoying in other people's hands because it is done with little intelligence and forethought so it bashes the viewer over the head with when the next synched moment or action will be. This is a flawless example of how to use synching subtley and to enhance every aspect of a movie. This is a movie which once it ends I can never fully believe it lasted more than a few minutes, nevermind over six. The experience is so seemlessly involving and emotionally poignant.
Just when you think you've seen it all in this movie they hit you with an outro which is almost beyond words and is something which should be experienced by every fan of gaming movies. The outro embodies the spirit of this movie: gracefully and magnificently soaring through truly rarified air at heights few have ever dreamed of let alone reached. Wonderful, joyful and instant nostalgia forming viewing.
Thorin Rating: 9/10
What rating would you give each movie? Leave your answers in the comments section.
'Gaming at the movies' will return next Wednesday with another batch of movies to excite, infuriate and entertain you.
@Thooorin on twitter.
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