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Member Since 07 Apr 2008
Offline Last Active Dec 22 2019 03:40 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: The Video Game News Thread

18 December 2019 - 01:42 AM

MAN that's a great trailer! They even got Kylo doing his foot stomp when he ignites the lightsabre!

In Topic: moving Wicktures that you are watching: John Wick 3 Edition

16 December 2019 - 01:26 AM



Midsommar: This is the second movie from Ari Aster, director of Hereditary, and it's really good! Hereditary made me feel physically sick for a few days after I saw it, and Midsommar isn't quite so intense, but it's still a wonderful, almost Wicker-Man-esque horror movie. Aster has a knack for wallowing in incredibly uncomfortable moments of extreme emotion (grief and despair being some big go-tos), and the lead actress of Midsommar, Florence Pugh, feels like the perfect team up for him. She acts 'grief' as this almost physical force, like she's literally out of breath from pure, brutal despair, and it is... boy oh boy, it's really difficult to watch! Like, I don't know how else to put it; Hereditary and Midsommar both get super, super real and they had me squirming.


Midsommar is the story of some American teens being invited to participate in the strange, once-a-generation festival/ritual performed by a curious Swedish village, way up north where the sun stays out for the entire Summer. If you're thinking that they're all going to die, then... yeah, that's what happens. I feel like that isn't even a spoiler, to be honest. This ain't a twist movie. This ain't really a story or a character movie, either (Florence Pugh's incredible performance notwithstanding). The entire movie is the festival, an ever-escalating spectacle of bizarreness and gorgeous imagery where you simultaneously dread and can't wait for the next step of the ritual, and it's a real experience with a capital E. I highly recommend it.


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: It's been a long time since I've watched this movie all the way through. I mostly just watch the fight scenes on Youtube when I need to get HOYPE for something, but I bought the 4K Blu Ray and wanted to remind myself what this bad boy is actually like. Turns out it's really good, but you already knew that. What I found interesting this time around is the unusual structure of it all. After an excellent opening act, a huuuuge chunk of the movie is devoted to a giant flashback to fill in Zhang Ziyi's character's back story, and the latter half of the movie feels a little rushed because of it. The script has Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun Fat talking about settling down and living peacefully together, but there's only one brief scene of this before the action kicks up again for the big climax.


I never knew until recently that this movie was based on a book, actually the fourth of a five-book series, and I wonder if it's just the age-old problem of cutting a book down to fit it into a film's length. It's not bad, just a liiiittle on the rushed side. Oh well. You know what is absolutely 10/10, sandblast-my-face-clean-off, literally-can't-watch-them-without-tearing-up-a-little-bit, though? THESE FIGHT SCENES, oh my God you guys. I'm not going to post the one with all the weapons in the dojo, because we all know that's a Top 5 All Time-er already. I'm not going to post the one where Zhang Ziyi demolishes the whole restaurant. I'm not even going to post the one where Chow Yun Fat effortlessly beats Zhang Ziyi using a stick he finds on the ground. I'm going to post this one that I bet you don't even remember:



Michelle Yeoh is the absolute Queen of all martial arts movies and CTHD is her best performance ever. 100/10.


Godzilla: King of the Monsters: There were a few moments when I thought I might genuinely like this. It's kind of interesting in the beginning, and there's a lot of neato stuff with enormous underwater science bases and a massive aerial command centre that looks like some ridiculous boss plane from an Ace Combat game. I'm not up on my lore for... whatever this particular cinematic universe is called, so I don't know where all this Thunderbirds tech came from, but I can appreciate a cool underwater base and a big ol' plane that drops smaller planes out of its belly.


But this movie has a real problem with something I think I've brought up here before, which is a really uncomfortable disrespect for human life. Some of these big CGI blockbusters are just so brutal, showing scores of people being absolutely annihilated in explosions or plane crashes or monster lightning or whatever, and I really dislike it. Remember the innocent English lady in Jurassic World who gets graphically ripped apart by pterodactyls in a super uncomfortable, lingering scene? I'm talking about that kind of thing. These pointless, savage deaths that aren't given any thematic weight in the story and just feel like cruelty for cruelty's sake. There's a scene in this movie where Rodan kills an entire squadron of fighter pilots, and the camera keeps cutting to this graphic on a computer screen that shows the pilots' names and faces every time as if to say, "Yep, there was a real person in each of those planes, with a family, with hopes and dreams. A real person like you, with 20-30 years of experience on this planet. Think of all the people they touched in their lives. That spark is now gone from this world. Because a giant pterodactyl did a spinny-winny and blew everyone up".


I wish filmmakers wouldn't do that.


Anyway the movie's not good. It's a big CG spectacle that doesn't really rise above the ranks of every other big CG spectacle. Lots of people die pointlessly, even named characters, and it's one of those movies where you can feel that there's another hour of footage on the cutting room floor and neither the director nor the studio were particularly happy with the final edit. The movie can't decide whether it's going to have a real shot at the story of the human characters or if it's just going to be big monsters brawling. It's just another disposable blockbuster that nobody's going to think about ever again. Oh well.


The Handmaid's Tale: Season 3: I don't know why this show is still going. The first season was excellent, and it came around at just the right time, but we've long-since reached the point where the only reason the show's still going is so the cast and crew can keep their steady paycheques. It's just going round and round in circles, establishing plans and then sticking a spanner in the works, then dealing with the spanner and getting back to the original plan, then more spanners, on and on forever. I don't think I'm going to watch another season.


Dead Ringers: How's this for a premise: Jeremy Irons plays twins, both brilliant gynecologists, whose weird twin bond goes on the fritz over a woman they each become obsessed with, and then they steadily go mad? And what if I told you it's directed by David Cronenberg? I feel like I'm automatically interested any time you tell me that one actor is playing multiple characters, because that's just a bit of movie magic I'm always totally transfixed by (how do they do it, tho?), but then you've got that delicious Cronenberg grossness on top. It's great. You shouldn't watch it, but do it anyway.

In Topic: The Pokemon Thread

15 December 2019 - 03:24 AM

OK, so it turns out that Sword/Shield does actually have a story, it's just entirely contained within the couple of hours between beating the eighth gym and facing the Champion. The first 20 hours or so are just you running from town to town while things happen just off-screen, then at the very end of the game they introduce a new evil team, have the real villain show his true colours, blaze through all the lore involving the Legendary duo and some kind of 1,000 year disaster and also the third Legendary btw.


At one point it appears that your bud, the current Champion, has been kidnapped by the evil team, so you have to storm their evil tower to get him back. The game depicts this as an elevator ride that stops three times so some goons can get on and Double Battle you and your friend Hop (he heals you between each battle). Then you reach the top in time to see the villain having a heart-to-heart with the Champion, which is shown as a series of three LITERAL JPEGS because I guess they ran out of money or time before they could animate it properly. Then the Champion just comes home with you because it turns out he wasn't kidnapped at all.

There's no Elite 4, you just have rematches with a few of the Gym Leaders, then a terrible Raid Battle against the third Legendary, then you fight the Champion and it rolls credits. Apparently there's a short postgame quest, but I read up about it and apparently it's mostly more Gigantamaxed Raid Battles, so I'm not going to do it. The Raids in this game are utter chores where you're paired up with three NPC trainers who keep using useless moves and the enemy Pokemon can summon six-layer shields out of nowhere. You press A to select your attack, then you just set the Switch down for a couple of minutes of unskippable animations until it's your turn again.


That's it. I'm done. 25-ish hours and I never want to play this game again, and I am someone who's poured at least 200 hours into every previous Pokemon gen. They gutted the Pokedex, stripped back the online features to practically GBA levels, kicked a clearly unfinished game out the door, and this is their debut on a system where the games cost the full $60 now and you have to pay extra for online.

In Topic: Death Stranding: Watch Ride On AMC Starring Norman Reedus

14 December 2019 - 02:48 AM

I've been getting through this game in fits and starts. I'm up to Episode 5, of apparently 14-ish, but these Episodes aren't split up into equal lengths and apparently 3 is by far the longest one in the game. I'm hoping I'm past the halfway point, because... I don't like this game and I don't want to spend too much more time on it.


At this point I can answer the question that nagged all through the run up to the game's release: what is Death Stranding? It's a game about delivering packages. Sometimes you just take them from A to B, sometimes you first have to go and pick the package up from a third point. Sometimes there are bad guys on the way, and sometimes those bad guys are black goop monsters you have to throw grenades made of your own blood and poop at. Once I fought Mads Mikkelson in a WW1 trench with a 3D-printed assault rifle, but that was a pretty big outlier. The bulk of this game is using a clunky menu system to load up your absurd body-mounted parcel rack system, marking out a route on your map, then schlepping all the way over there with 80kg of metal briefcases stuck to all your limbs.


It's not bad. There isn't much in the way of challenge, so if you're just looking for a casual hour or two of making deliveries I guess it can scratch that itch. With no magic sticky climbing system, it does take a bit of effort to find (or create) a route that'll get you and your cargo up a craggy hill, which you wouldn't even think twice about in most games. Getting back down hills can be kind of fun, too, as you hang on tight to your shoulder straps tight and half-run, half-stumble at a dangerous speed, trying not to actually go tumbling. And there's kind of a neat melee combat system for fighting off bad guys, where on knocking out an enemy you have a second of slow-mo during which you can grab their dropped cargo out of the air and use it as a weapon. L2 and R2 control your left and right grip respectively, so you have to hold the trigger the entire time you want to hold a thing, but if you want to throw something you just let go of it while you're swinging it, and it can be pretty fun to bonk one guy, grab the briefcase that goes flying out of his hand and then yeet it at the next poor sucker. It reminds me of what I thought combat was going to be like in Breath of the Wild before I actually played it.


But I am long past the point where I would have stopped playing the game if it wasn't for Kojima's name on the cover and the promise of something happening with this story. In spite of his problems with verbosity, buying into his own hype, not having written a female character who wasn't actively embarrassing to behold since, like, MGS3, I still think Kojima is a pretty good storyteller. Even at his worst, I would still take an overlong, indulgent Kojima cutscene over, say, the storytelling of a Kingdom Hearts or modern Final Fantasy game. For all the made-up terminology and baffling trailers, the story and world of Death Stranding have been pretty easy to grasp so far. I know what I'm doing, I know who the characters are, I can tell you my short term and long term goals. Everything's weird, but it's weird in an "I'm looking forward to finding out what that's all about" way, not a "This game was in development hell for five years and maybe the explanation for this was in an earlier build and got cut from the final release", Square-Enix kind of way.


Though, next time you meet a Kojima-can-do-no-wrong die-hard, dunk on them with this scene and enjoy the mental gymnastics as they try and pretend it's anything but trash:


In Topic: SSLF's Runner-Up GOTY of the Year 2019 Thread

12 December 2019 - 10:30 PM

The fatal flaw of the Death Stranding GOTY campaign was when they actually had to release the game and let people play it. Even Geoff was like, "Yeah, I can't get away with it this time".