Another feature movie gets a slot machine comeback

Slot machines are among the most popular games of the world. There are other games extremely popular, of course, but these are the ones available – both online and in real life – in probably the greatest variety. There are literally hundreds of variants available in casinos, pubs, betting shops or restaurants of the world, and there are also hundreds of them – free to play or real money versions – available online.

Commercial slot machines – the ones that can be played for real money – are built with a great variety of themes, inspired by a bunch of things. There are some with shoes, fish, hunting, wildlife, sports, vacations, office work, spies, and there are those – among the most popular – that are inspired by Hollywood hits, just like the one recently released by Microgaming, one of the best rated casino games developers of the world: “Terminator 2 – Judgement Day.”

This is the last in the series of popular casino titles based on hit movies launched by the developer based in the Isle of Man. It has launched several others before – for example, one of their most popular ones based on the high tech vigilante cleaning out the streets of Gotham City, as imagined by Christopher Nolan, besides a bunch of others based on successful TV series and video games (including the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider franchise).

Terminator 2 – Judgement Day was released based on a licensing agreement signed by the developer and Studiocanal, back in February. The game was launched at the beginning of June. It features cut scenes, sound effects and the characters from the hit movie – we can see familiar faces, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Robert Patrick, the lead actors from the movie.

The game itself is a modern video slot machine, with five reels and 243 ways to win. It features everything a modern and successful slot machine needs: stunning bonuses (although no progressive jackpot this time), free spins and the possibility to expand to 1024 ways to win, maximizing the winnings of the lucky player. The morphing capability of the T-1000 (masterfully played by Robert Patrick in the original movie) was exploited during the Free Spins bonus game – it can morph into any of the symbols, offering players an even bigger chance to win.

Did I make you curious? Are you asking where could you try this game? Well, it depends where you reside. Jackpot City is still one of the best casinos for Canadian players, so I would suggest to start there if you happen to reside in Canada. Europe and the rest of the world has a great variety of Microgaming – powered casinos to choose from, while in case of US players I can only suggest to try one of the places where the game is available in “fun mode”, as the licenses usually prohibit them from registering to most online casinos anyway.

One of the memorable quotes from the movie was “I’ll be back”. Well, he is back again. Good luck.

  

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A chat with Gale Anne Hurd, producer of “The Walking Dead”

Gale Anne Hurd, producer of There aren’t many producers around these days whose name can help sell a movie or TV show, but Gale Anne Hurd is the rare exception. Probably best known as one of the co-creators of “The Terminator” franchise, Hurd has been an important player in numerous mega- or merely major productions, including both “Hulk” and “The Incredible Hulk,” “The Abyss,” “Armageddon,” “The Punisher,” and the underrated 1999 comedy “Dick,” which starred Dan Hedaya as Richard Milhous Nixon and a young Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams as a couple of teenagers who wind up bringing down a presidency.

Clearly one of the more hands-on producers around, Hurd is pleasant and businesslike when talking to a member of the show-biz press, but clearly has the gumption to deal with the biggest and most difficult of personalities, which is how I segue into the obligatory mention of the fact that she spent the part of the late eighties and early nineties being married to first James Cameron and then Brian De Palma. Moreover, she began her career working for one the most fascinating and effective producers in the history of the medium, Roger Corman, but more of that in the interview.

Still, nothing she’s done is quite like her current project, the zombie horror drama and comic book adaptation, “The Walking Dead.” The AMC television series, adapted from a series of acclaimed comics by Robert Kirkman primarily by writer-director Frank Darabont (“The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Green Mile,” “The Mist”) is currently receiving maximum exposure on the web. The publicity train was only just getting started when I spoke to Ms. Hurd at a mammoth new San Diego hotel adjacent to the Comic-Con festivities last summer.

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I had typed my questions on my laptop, which I was afraid might be a little off-putting. So, after a quick greeting, I tried to explain why.

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Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 2.13 – In this world, we’ve got to find the time for the (death) of Riley

So this is how the second season of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” was supposed to end.

It’s the 13th episode, which is all they were originally supposed to make when the season began. And this is how they were going to end it…with three episodes that practically stood still. The episode fades to black with Sarah passing out from a gunshot wound, but then they follow it with scenes from the show’s second half (it relaunches in February), and we see that Sarah is very much alive. Exactly how she’s alive, I’m not sure, since she went into that warehouse by herself and didn’t tell anyone where she was. It reminds me of something someone said to my wife when she was trying to carry a bunch of luggage through the London tube station by herself: “You are either very brave, or very foolish.” Sarah’s tough, but this was just dumb.

We finally get Riley’s back story, and man, what a disappointment that was. She goes from feral street rat in the future, to undercover mark assigned to seduce John Connor, in what seems like a matter of weeks. I can see why Jesse would choose someone that doesn’t fight for the resistance (thus making it less likely any fellow Resistance members would recognize her), but surely there was someone more appropriate for the job, right? And would Riley really go from having doubts about the assignment to committing suicide in John’s bathroom? Really? We all knew that Riley was going to die sooner or later, but suicide? That’s just lazy. I would rather have seen Riley try to confess everything to John, only to have Jesse kill her before Riley could rat her out. It’s cliche, but that would have been much more tragic. As it is, John’s only take-away from this is, “Man, that Riley was a crazy bitch.” Methinks the Future John is now even more into Cameron than he was when Jesse and Riley traveled back in time in the first place.

“Hi, I’m a slightly unstable, combat-ready paranoid who sees these three dots everywhere. Oh, and I’m going to get you killed before all is said and done.”

Sarah, meanwhile, is hanging out with a cross-dressing Man Who Knows Too Much, in a blind pursuit of the three dots. She finishes her quest, of course, but not before getting both the cross-dresser and the hypno-therapist she recruits to open his mind killed in the process. Wouldn’t you have thought, after the first attempt on their lives at his/her storage facility, that Sarah would have realized that taking Abraham into the city was not a good idea? Nope. Instead, she brings him back for an “emergency” session with the clearly busy therapist. Who does that? “Excuse me, I need you to fix my car.” “Well, we’re very busy, so you’ll have to make an appointment.” “Nope. It’s an emergency.” “You heard the man, get these cars out of here and get to work on his problem.” Uh, sure.

Ellison and Cromartie/John Henry finally return, and while it has the makings of an interesting dynamic, I’ll stop short of saying that thie will actually lead to something interesting. This show has been nothing but missed opportunities, so there is no guarantee they will follow through on this one. Still, they did hint in the previews that John Henry eventually figures out that Catherine is a machine, which means that Ellison’s concern that John Henry will grow far too powerful to be controlled may will indeed come to fruition. Speaking of Catherine, she had the episode’s best line: “Cows are more powerful than humans, but I’d still rather be the farmer with the rifle.” Curious choice of phrasing, since you could argue that in her mind, we’re the cows, and she’s the farmer with the rifle. However, if the show doesn’t get its ass in gear in February, “Terminator” will be the cow, and Fox will be the farmer with the rifle.

Reports indicate that when Fox brings back “Terminator” in February, it will be moved to the Kevorkian death slot of Friday night. If that is indeed the case, this will likely serve as my last blog on the show. Thanks to everyone who read my rants (quickest way to hate a show: start blogging about it), and here’s hoping that the producers of the show finally get it right in the new year.

  

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Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 2.12 – Sydney saved my life tonight, sugar bear

Remember the scene in “Animal House” where Pinto takes the checkout girl to the Delta Tau Chi toga party? She gets drunk, they fool around, and then she passes out right when Pinto reaches under her bra and realizes she’s artificially padded her rack with a bunch of tissue?

“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” is the checkout girl.

The last two shows have been nothing but padding. Enough, already. If you have a story to tell, then tell it; please don’t waste our time with these episodes that completely ignore half of the cast to focus on people who will not likely be seen or heard from again. Yes, Terminators are coming back to kill people besides John, we get it. You’ve made that abundantly clear. Now for the love of Jebus, start pushing your story forward. If we’ve hung in there this long, I think we’re entitled to some kind of payoff. Lord knows, we’ve been patient.

Outside of showing “When Derek Met Jesse” in the future, the only important takeaway from this week’s episode is that John Connor is not the only savior of the resistance in the future. John might lead the resistance, but a girl named Sydney – still in the womb when tonight’s episode begins – gives the humans a huge advantage when she turns out to be immune to a biological agent the machines use to wipe out a compound. Derek and Jesse save Sydney in the future, and then her blood saves them both from dying from the virus. Cut to our present, where Derek is helping Sydney’s mother deliver her before she dies, and realizing that Sydney’s sister Lauren is the one who gave him the antidote. Sweet and surreal, yes?

And completely pointless, in the current economic climate. If the story arc at season’s end hasn’t given up a little sumpin’ sumpin’, they’re getting canned, and they’ll have no one but themselves to blame for being so prudish on the front end. Sorry, but that’s just the way society works these days. Blame Lindsay Lohan.

In fairness to the uber-conservative show runners, there is another takeaway from this episode: Cameron gets the bejeezus kicked out of her by the Triple-8 assigned to kill Sydney, and is even knocked “unconscious” at one point. They’re setting up that ‘faulty chip’ plot device, to be sure. God help them, then, if they do nothing with it in next week’s final episode of the year.

  

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Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 2.11 – Baby, the stars shine bright

Sarah’s not nuts after all. Well, let’s qualify that: she may very well be nuts, but she’s not nuts about the three dots, as a lengthy flashback episode – gin joints! The Charleston! Twenty-three skidoo! – explained that the machines use three particular stars in relation to the other stars around them as a means of telling time…in years. Very valuable information to us now, but couldn’t Cameron have figured that out before Sarah decided to get medieval on the bathroom mirror? Just a thought.

Tonight’s episode reveals that Cameron has been spending her sleepless nights (cyborgs, apparently, do not dream of electric sheep) at the Hall of Records, reading up on…oh, who the hell knows. One night she stumbles upon a picture from a speakeasy fire in 1920…and she recognizes someone. Soon she’s researching the written history of a man who built a real estate empire from nothing – while another real estate baron suffered a suspicious string of bad luck at the same time, including the death of his son in the speakeasy fire – only to disappear completely in 1925. Where did he go, and why would he erect a building in the name of his rival’s dead son? Cameron knows, but can’t tell. She visits the building, given landmark status and due for reopening in 2010, and finds her man, behind a wall…with a Tommy gun. Nice!

Of course, she kills him, and as far as we know, she leaves the body, which is just nuts. N-V-T-S nuts.

Gotta be a bad girl in this world.
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