Thursday, December 19, 2013

Forbes Highest Grossing Actor List

Forbes has put out their list of the highest grossing actors of 2013.  The top ten from the list in order:

Dwayne Johnson       $1.3 billion, mostly from Fast & Furious 6,  but also Pain & Gain and whatever the G.I. Joe movie was called.  

Robert Downey, Jr.   $1.2 billion, from only Iron Man 3.

Steve Carell              $964 million, Despicable Me 2 was his big hit this year, although The Way Way Back was a great movie my opinion.

Vin Diesel                 $887 million, also Fast & Furious 6 and Riddick, although 99% of it is from Fast and the Furious 6.  Don't quote me on that math, I made it up.  It has to be close though.

Sandra Bullock         $862 million, first woman on the list.  Mostly from Gravity.

Paul Walker              $789 million, you guessed it Fast & Furious 6.

Billy Crystal               $743 million, Monsters University made a ton of money.

John Goodman           $743 million, same as Billy Crystal.

Chris Hemsworth        $701 million, Thor made some cash.  He was also in Rush, but I don’t think that made a lot of money.

Jennifer Lawrence       $700 million, those Hunger Games movies do quite well

There you have it, the only thing on the list that was new was Gravity, everything else was a sequel or a prequel.  I guess people like to see something familiar and new at the same time nowadays.  I’m guilty of it, I love the Fast & Furious movies, and I will go see them every time they are in the theater.  I know they are stupid, but I still enjoy them.  What do you think about this list?  Do you really love sequels?  These numbers are worldwide box office numbers by the way, so it’s just not in the United States. Fast & Furious does well everywhere apparently.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sony and PayPal Deal

Sony and PayPal are currently running a promotion where you get an an extra $10 when you add $50 to your wallet using PayPal.  It's free money!  There is some fine print, it has to be added by December 23 and you can't currently have more than $100 in your wallet because the max in your PSN wallet is $150.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Movie Review - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug


GurleeGirrl and I had been looking forward to the second installment of The Hobbit for quite some time. We enjoyed the first one, and assumed this would be more of the same.  Unfortunately these movies are really drawn out, and extremely long.  At a little over 2 hours and 40 minutes and nothing really happens.  Sure there is some Gandalf and Legolas, but that only helps out a little.  I'm just waiting for the story to be over now, so when they release the third movie I will be happy to be done with this journey.  I much prefer the Lord of the Rings to The Hobbit.  Although, the CGI dragon is awesome and worth seeing in the theater.  I give The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug a 6 out of 10.


As GTuck mentioned, I was very excited to see the second installment of The Hobbit, and made sure we were there on opening night seeing it on the IMAX screen.  I had my popcorn and Kit Kat bites and was ready to be wowed.  Unfortunately that just didn't happen.  Don't get me wrong, Desolation of Smaug had some improvements over the last installment, including the addition of Evangeline Lily as Tauriel of the Woodland Elves.  She was fantastic.  For the ladies looking for a love story (or love Triangle), we got that too as her relationship with Kili (Aidan Turner) blossoms, we have to wonder what is going to happen with Legolas.

Highlight of the movie is we finally get to see Smaug, and we see quite a bit of him.  As always, there is a lot of fighting with the Orc, which I normally love, but it seemed to drag on.  The only reason I wasn't super annoyed by it is Legolas and Tauriel use their bow skills and acrobatics to entertain us, and it worked for me.

I officially give it a 6 out of 10, however, I still am excited for the third installment, and am sure that if you are truly a LOTR fan, you won't be disappointed with this one.


Friday, December 13, 2013

PlayStation 4 Review

PlayStation 4

This review is going to be different than everything you read on all the gaming sites, this is more of a normal person using a new console for about a month, while working full time and traveling during the holidays.

The PS4 has been out for almost a month now, and so far I am loving it.  I like the PS4 so much so that I regret being such a big Xbox 360 fan this past generation.  I think I’ve always been a PlayStation person, but for some reason got caught up in the Xbox 360 this last go around.  I went so crazy during last week’s Best Buy trade in promotion I don’t even own an Xbox 360 right now.

Maybe it was the controller, the Xbox 360 has a much better controller and that must have been the deciding factor.  Or the fact that the Xbox 360 came out a year earlier, I honestly don’t remember anymore.  I had a PS3 pretty much the whole time, but I barely used it.   The DUALSHOCK 4 has fixed almost all the problems I had with the DUALSHOCK 3 on the PlayStation 3.  First off it is larger, which is great so now it finally fits in my hands and has a real nice weightiness to it.  The sticks are a lot better and stiffer, not as “floppy” as the DUALSHOCK 3.  The touchpad is nice and the triggers are larger and much more responsive and just feel a lot better than on the DUALSHOCK 3.  Going back to the DUALSHOCK 3 after using the DUALSHOCK 4 is painful.

DUALSHOCK 3, DUALSHOCK 4, and Xbox 360 Controller

On to more of the PS4 hardware.  The PS4 itself is nice, a weird parallelogram, I think that’s the shape.  I do think it’s difficult to plug in cables without looking because of the lip on the back, but that’s fine.  No power brick is nice.  No actual buttons on the thing is fine, although finding the eject button for the blu ray drive doesn’t feel natural at times, you do get used to it.  Overall I like the form factor just fine, it’s pretty slim and light.  It’s pretty quiet too.  I have it in my entertainment center and the fan kicks on every once in a while, but its sure quieter than my PS3.  My PS3 was so loud towards the end that I couldn’t even use it.  I traded it in a few weeks ago when Best Buy had a special promotion and got $100 for it, and then picked up the Black Friday Super Slim for $200.  Quite the upgrade, super small and quiet as well.

Menus on the PS4 are so much snappier and easier to get around.  The user interface is pretty good.  I wish you could make your own folders to store things though.  Hopefully that will come after an update.  Downloading times are also improved.  I downloaded Warframes, Resogun and Contrast all rather quickly.  If you have PlayStation Plus you need to download these free games immediately.  All are pretty fun, plus they’re free!

I’ve tried a lot of games.  I’m not sure if I’m ready to review any of them yet.  I haven’t beaten any games yet, although maybe I beat Resogun?  I’m not really sure to be honest.

I get excited to try new games on a new console and so far I've played:

NBA 2K14
First game I put in and played on my brand new PS4.  Looks amazing, a significant upgrade over the Xbox 360 version.  Great game.

Madden 25
Madden 25 has been great, I played the Xbox 360 version and this version looks slightly better and is slightly smoother.  It’s Madden.

Killzone:  Shadowfall
Best looking game on the console.  The touchpad controls are fun, but the game is pretty hard.  I’m actually thinking about starting over on easy.

Played some co-op with my son, we had fun with it.  I don’t get all the bad reviews, it was just a rental so I had to bring it back.  I’ll probably pick it up when it’s cheap.

I love Resogun, I'm not very good at it though.  I try to play a game every day hoping that I'll become good at it. I love old fashioned type arcade games.

It’s a little buggy, but looks cool and it’s original.  I’ve not finished it, but I will someday.

Assassins Creed 4:  Black Flag
Very good looking game, and fun to play.  I haven’t really gotten into it yet though.

Need for Speed:  Hot Pursuit
Good looking game, frame rate is great.  I'm not good at this one either, and I get frustrated easily.

Call of Duty:  Ghosts
It's Call of Duty.

It's fun for a free game.  Communication is lacking, if it was a little tighter it would be very similar to a Phantasy Star Online.  Which was a great game.

I played NBA 2K14 on the Xbox 360 and Call of Duty:  Ghosts on the PlayStation 3.  There are definitely improvements to both games, nothing mind blowing on CoD, but NBA 2K14 looks better on the PS3 than the Xbox 360.

I will give the Playstation 4 an 8 out of 10.

Movie Review - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire


Catching Fire came out on November 22nd and GurleeGirrl and I saw it on opening night in IMAX.  We still love going to the movies on opening night, especially for the bigger movies.  I don’t know if I should be embarrassed or not, but I’ve read all the Hunger Games books and I enjoyed the first movie.  I liked this one as well, but it did feel a little rushed.  I like seeing the action of the games, and there was a decent amount, but I was hoping for more.  I was not bored at all during the movie and all the performances were great.  I especially liked the characters of Finnick and Joanna, they stole the screen whenever they were on.  I will give The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire an 8 out of 10.


I really enjoyed the movie too.  A movie should take me away for an hour or two and make me feel a connection to the characters.  This movie did that.  It made me laugh, cry and feel anxious, and that's even with having read the book!

When Katniss and Peta visit Rue's District, I was literally sobbing.  It was very touching.  My favorite scene by far.

Some new characters were introduced, and I just loved Finnick - he stole the spotlight for sure.  Joanna adds some much needed humor to the dark story, and Jena Malone rocked it.  I'm excited to watch the rest of their story unfold.  Prim looks so much older and much more mature, and the actress herself has evolved.  Cesar was a favorite of mine from the first movie and continues to be.  Stanley Tucci is by far the best part of the movie - I think I have a smile plastered on my face the entire time he's on screen.

One notable improvement is the acting this go round.  Each and every actor has really stepped their game up.

The CGI was an improvement too.  One bad scene is when Katniss is being lifted out of the arena.  This was just painful for me to watch - it just looked horrible.  Most everything else, was great, besides the "flaming" costumes, but they were an improvement over the last movie, so that's something.

Overall the movie left me excited for the next, which seemed to be the consensus in our theater, because when it ended no one wanted to leave!  I am pretty peeved to learn that Mockingjay will be broken into two movies.  Seriously?!?! I have to wait 2 years to see this story come to an end? Great....

My rating for this movie is a 7 out of 10.  I'd absolutely recommend you see this movie in the theater, and then I'll bet it will be one of those you'll watch again at home, I know I will.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


 Microtransactions have been a hot topic in video games the past few weeks, even more so than ever. Free to play games have their place, but when gamers are buying a $60 and then almost being forced to then spend extra money on microtransactions is enough to make gamers go crazy. Problem is, they are spending the money. Game companies will continue to nickel and dime us if we spend the money to rank up faster. I had never spent money on a microtransaction before, but I did last week. I spent $9.99 for a chunk of Virtual Currency (VC) on NBA 2K14 for the PS4. I wanted to advance my character in My Career better, faster. I was hoodwinked, and now I am embarrassed that I did it. I could have earned VC the old fashioned way of grinding through the game, but it was just so easy to spend $10 to make my player better now to earn more playing time.

How could I not spend an extra $10 to make my awesome looking character a little better? I have been using the app now that I actually got it to login, and you can earn some extra VC that way by signing in every day. Scored a quick 1250 VC today, which was nice. I do really love NBA 2K14, but I wish it was easier to earn VC. The main problem is that when you spend VC, it’s from a universal pot. What that means is if you are playing My Career or My GM you have to spend VC to play either mode. You would need a lot to play both modes, so you kind of have to concentrate on one or the other. For the My GM mode you actually have to spend VC to do simple things like changing the lineup.

Microtransactions have also been a hot issue in Forza 5.  I haven't played that game yet, but it's all over Reddit and NeoGAF.  When a car used to cost about $2 to unlock in Forza 4, now costs around $100 to unlock, gamers will go crazy.  I guess it's still possible to grind it out and make in game currency, but if you want to drive the best cars right away, it's really going to cost you some real world money.  Plus, who wants to drive a Ford Focus for a month grinding out currency instead of driving a Dodge Challenger SRT8 right away for a couple of bucks.  Now if it's $60 to unlock a Challenger, I wouldn't ever do it.

I did however almost spend money on a microtransaction in Madden 25, but I talked myself out of it. I was playing around in Madden Ultimate Team and almost purchased some cards with real money.  I may still do it, but I really should grind for awhile since there are a lot of challenges to play.  I recently played an opponent online and they had Vince Lombardi as there coach. I want Vince Lombardi on my sideline, it looked awesome.

What do you think about microtransactions?  Do you ever make in game purchases?  Are they ever going to go away?

Who Are We? is a blog and podcast about gaming and movies.  

Join me, GTuck, and GurleeGirrl, as we talk about all types of gaming including those time-killing games on your iOS/Android, the ever popular Console Games (PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo) and of course the original and less popular board and card games.  We of course will also be talking about any other type of games we might be playing, which changes often.  

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