(217 replies, posted in Off Topic)

So the topic of Gwar came up in the chat, and that lead to the following question: "What metal albums from the last decade would you consider a masterpiece". I had one immediate answer, but then had to think a bit. I'm not sure I can fairly answer the question, except to just list some of my own personal favorite albums from the last decade or so that I think are examples of bands who are just killing it in a nearly flawless way:

Linking single tracks because I think linking the entire album is a bit overkill... You can look if you're interested:

Katatonia - Night Is The New Day (2009):

Katatonia is one of my favorite bands, but most of their albums are not what I'd call "great". They have a lot of standout tracks and a lot of tracks that I tend to skip. Night Is The New Day is one of their more recent albums that I consider to be right up there among my all-time favorite albums, and I listen to it a hell of a lot, and can just put it on and let it go and thoroughly enjoy it in its entirety. The only track I consider kinda weak is the very first one.

Madder Mortem - Eight Ways (2009):

You'll notice a trend in most of my favorites in that I like stuff with at least a little prog or jazz influence going on. I've got some exceptions, but most of my favorites are doing something more technical than just verse / chorus / verse and driving beats. I find that I can zone out and let it play in the background, but I can also really focus on it and get fully absorbed when it's doing something more complex. A lot of my favorite music is doing this, not just metal stuff.

Opeth - Sorceress (2016):

These guys were insanely heavy melodic death metal with a twist of jazz about 15 years ago, but their stuff from the last decade has evolved into a more pure prog-rock sort of sound. I wasn't a fan of some of the earlier of their prog-style albums, but Sorceress is fucking fantastic, and is easily on par with the best of their death metal stuff in terms of how listenable the entire album is.

Callisto - Providence (2009):

I'm gonna be honest and say that their previous album 'Noir' is probably the most 'friendly' of their albums thus far. Their first album, True Nature Unfolds, is extremely heavy and has lots of atonal shit going on in it. Providence is the other end of the spectrum and is way more jazz / prog than metal. It's arguable whether this should even be considered 'metal' at this point, but they're another of my all-time favorite bands. Very slow on new material, tho.

So that's a good start, I guess. I'll add some more later, maybe. This isn't really 'traditional' heavy metal, tho. This is mostly melodic / prog type stuff. I don't listen to much heavy metal / power metal / etc.


(1,389 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Just stumbled randomly onto this, and I don't think I've been as excited about this many upcoming videogames all at once since the mid 90s. A number of these sound like they're right up my alley, and even the ones that are more narrative-driven are doing so in a way that feels a lot more correct for a video game than just a linear story.

Just subbed to that guy's channel. I think I've bumped into him a few times before randomly due to his surplus of No Man's Sky videos, and the fact that I was mildly interested in that game in the months before that game was released. So it's nice, for once, that I watched a video from a guy once and youtube has since kept insisting I watch more random videos from that guy.


(2,074 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Nocturnal Animals:

I have no idea how to approach a review about this. I love-hated it.

It's shot wonderfully. The basic premise and plot of the film is solid and engaging: A woman receives the manuscript of the novel that her ex-husband wrote and dedicated to her after almost 20 years of their not having really spoken to each other. Reading the novel makes her reflect on her past and who she became. The book parts are incredibly engaging to watch. Her reactions to the book and to the thoughts that it ends up dredging up are equally engaging.

So with that out of the way, I can't really say I liked this film much. I have no idea what the metaphor was in the book because they withhold necessary information until the end of the film that prevents you from actually understanding what the ex-husband guy is supposed to be saying. When you do get that information, my interpretation of the book was not a very positive one with regard to Adams' character. So of course her first reaction was to apparently attempt to rekindle her relationship with him.

I mean, she read the book and had all of the information the whole time. She comes off as kinda dumb at the end. Which may be the point or something. I dunno. I'm really not sure how I'm supposed to be reading the last act of the film at all. Toss in the one really odd jump-scare the movie had for no reason, and the other mildly odd things in the film that it was possibly doing just to come off as more creepy or something...

I hate movies like this because the director is asking you to interpret shit. In this particular film, I'm not sure if the point of the film isn't also to point out the fact that you have to interpret the film, as a decent chunk of the film's running time is devoted to 'modern' art. It opens with it, and there are numerous examples of it throughout the segments with Adams' character. My own personal opinion of the vast majority of 'modern' art is that it is 99% garbage made by lazy, shallow hacks who are trying to shock people more than they're trying to say anything, and they're certainly not trying to be aesthetically pleasing. It's like the artistic equivalent of the Jackass movies or tabloid news. Except people pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to consume it.

And I'm not sure if the film is agreeing with me or trying to be that.

And I'm not sure why they had to make a statement like that in a noir-ish revenge thriller / character study.

This movie was frustrating to me. Gyllenhaal was great, tho. Fucker can act. Amy Adams, on the other hand, was the subject of a Kuleshov experiment. Her facial expression never changed, and the film would just cut from something to her blank face and then cut to something else and then her blank face. I will say that some of the editing is fantastic, along with the cinematography. There are some great scene transitions that fuck with time and space and all that.

I dunno, tho. I guess I can recommend it, as it's definitely an interesting movie, but don't expect to get much out of it. I was frustrated as fuck by the end.


(2,074 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Doctor Strange:


Pretty good. I'm not gonna lie and say that I was much impressed or anything. It's not bad, but it also didn't really feel like it was going above and beyond, aside from the fun they were clearly having with the effects shit. There's some clever shit in there, tho.

But as usual, they didn't really give me a reason to be emotionally connected to anyone in the movie. They gave me a reason for Dr Strange to be sad about shit, and they gave other people reasons to be sad or attached to other people, but they didn't give ME a reason to give a shit or get attached to anyone. Stuff happens, and then people do things, and then crazy CGI shit happens, and then the movie's over.

I liked how they defeated the bad guys. It was a clever sort of comic-booky kind of ending, and it beat the hell out of just... well... beating the hell out of each other. The movie is kinda worth watching to get to the ending. For once, the ending of the movie is probably the best part of one of these movies. Usually they sorta drop the ball toward the climax. I would go so far as to say that I enjoyed this movie purely for the cleverness that it had going on, even though the characters are just sorta not there, really.

Worth checking out.


(398 replies, posted in Off Topic)

I would be OK with them just having dicks, honestly. If they show the fertilization process that would be fine, I mean. If they just have big old H R Giger lumpy swingers, that'll be weird. Maybe their dicks have another little dick inside like their mouths...

It annoys me that CG animals in movies generally tend to not have genitalia or buttholes. Like it's gonna offend people to see animal dicks and buttholes, even though anyone with a pet will have become used to seeing them.

I was hoping that the monkeys in the new PotA movies would have them. For as photoreal as they're trying to make the creatures in movies, the lack of genitalia seems like it would be an obvious tell for your brain.


(398 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Are they perhaps talking about the Space Jockey / 'Prometheans' (as people are apparently calling them), and not the Xenomorphs? I ask because the Xenomorphs having dicks makes no sense at all, given the way they procreate. Maybe a tucked away barb or something that protrudes whenever they are needed to fertilize, but that shouldn't happen too often, and you'd need a queen and drones for that to happen.

Ant drones don't have big floppy penises or red rockets hanging out all over the place. Hopefully they're talking about the Prometheans (ugh... that name...).


(2,074 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Little catch-up post:

Ip Man 3:

Goofy as hell, but the fights are worth checking out. The plot is so ridiculous and there are so many threads going on that you spend all of the non-fighting parts just hoping that a fight starts really quick to get people to shut up about whatever's happening. There are a few really good ones in this flick.

The Good, The Bad & The Weird:

Very very good. I was totally satisfied with it. Wish I had seen it earlier than this. It's billed as an asian western, but it feels more like a Mad Max flick mixed with an Indiana Jones flick or something. The camerawork is very Spielberg. I was honestly very impressed throughout the film at how great a lot of the cinematography was.

The Magnificent Seven:

I thought I mentioned this already, cause I saw it about the same time I saw that Bourne movie. I was more or less happy with it, but I was underwhelmed in certain regards. I felt they really needed to have spent more time with the various characters after they got back to the town. Like the time period should have been longer and the mercs and the townsfolk should have bonded a little better. For my sake. The mercs and the folks all start dying, and they spend these moments where you're watching them get shot and seeing other people react like "Oh no! That one dude got shot! I can't believe it! Now I'm so upset!", and I was like "I don't give a fuck, I've known that dude for like five minutes and a half dozen lines". They don't really have many good character moments for any of them aside from Goodnight and Billy Rocks.

It was OK, tho. I wasn't bored or insulted or anything. It's a solid little flick that just feels a bit unsatisfying.


(398 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Looks like it.


(21 replies, posted in Off Topic)

I am not pleased that Zootopia won. While I enjoyed the film, it's pretty common that the 'animated feature' category is populated with animated equivalents to Goodfellas, 2001, Schindler's List and Apocalypse Now, but the winning film is the equivalent to Home Alone or Hook. The category was made to prevent animated films from winning for Best Picture, but what it's become is a platform for Disney / Pixar / Dreamworks to have a pissing contest while all of then grind their heels into anyone working in animation outside of the big studios. If you don't work at Disney/Pixar, then you have no chance of winning Best Feature or Short.

Piper was literally the worst possible choice for Animated Short (with possible exception of Borrowed Time, which doesn't feel like a complete story). Blind Vaysha was my obvious pick, but Pearl was at least as good as your typical Disney-style animated crap as far as the story and emotional manipulation.

I didn't see Pear Cider & Cigarettes, tho, so I can't say if that shouldn't have won or not...

But for feature, I haven't seen Zucchini or The Red Turtle, but I'll guarantee you that you can watch either of them and be like "Wow, that's a way better movie". That shit happens every year. The category is a joke.


(21 replies, posted in Off Topic)

I want to see what wins for Best Animated Feature and Short. Those are generally the only two categories I give a crap about. Sadly, I've only seen two of the nominations this year for feature, and while I liked Zootopia I'm always a little upset that we so rarely have a decent animated drama win over the general-audiences talking-animals stuff.


(2,074 replies, posted in Off Topic)

You know, I wasn't even aware of a Jack Reacher 2 until I saw it on a video shelf. Had it not been for Tom Cruise on the cover, I would have thought it was straight-to-video. Hell, lately it's not entirely out of the question, even with a big star. Travolta is going about 50/50 with his releases being wide releases or such small releases that it may as well be straight to video, and Bruce Willis' career is mostly straight-to-video now with the exception of Die Hard movies and being cast as 'old action guy' in movies like GI Joe and Red.

It just sucks that there's not more in the way of genuinely great action movies getting made anymore. I still don't think anything has come anywhere near the level of The Raid 2 in terms of action goodness since it came out. Dredd is really good, but subsequent viewings have diminished its impact on me, while I can still watch both Raid movies and be just as entertained by them the tenth time as I was the second time.

I haven't seen the new John Wick movie, but people I trust who are into great action flicks have assured me that it's a successful action flick. I'll have to check it out if it's still in the theaters by the time my car gets out of the shop.

God damned deer and their god damned need to cross roads in the middle of the night...


(2,074 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Arrival's strengths are not its plot, but instead its filmmaking. They made the fuck out of it. There are various aspects to the plot that make absolutely no sense at all, but the way the scenes are stitched together is top-level shit.

I am currently watching The Bourne Something...

uh... So I've got it in the player right now, and I can't actually think of the name of the movie.

Oh, "Jason Bourne"

It's fucking dogshit. I actually love the Bourne films. They're sorta guilty pleasure flicks, but they've got decent action and aren't stupid or anything so they're fun to watch.

I have to find out what the fuck happened here. The movie is intriguingly terrible. Like...  some of the worst shit I've seen in a movie in a good while. I mean, a fight just started, and I have no fucking idea why. There was no reason for this dude to just jump Matt Damon, but he did for some reason.

And somehow this bitch hacked a cell phone and used that to magically delete the files on a laptop that it wasn't connected to?

There was an early scene where hacker woman was hacking things, and some other lady was trying to counter-hack her, and she typed "run tracking algorithm" or something and little blips with faces and bios started popping up on some other computer, and then some kind of facial recognition thing happened and that's how she discovered who was hacking them or something. None of it made any fucking sense at all.

They do the "enhance!" thing where a blurry low-res photo becomes a crisp HD image. There's some internet startup company that the government is bullying into giving them everyone's information, but the company hasn't even launched their product yet, but they're already huge and making these huge announcement things on a big stage telling people that they're information will be secure, and that's like the entire announcement? "Your information will be secure with us forever!" Like...  is their service just a 'store all of your most important personal information in the cloud' service or something? What the fuck do they actually do, besides store personal information that they secretly give to the government?

The government has access and can track everyone with no problem in any country on the planet, but as soon as the action sequence ends because the cops show up, I guess they have to turn all of that shit off to be fair about it? They just let him go, even though they could easily just keep tracking him with all of the cameras and shit, including cel phones and shit as well, apparently.

The dialogue is the most fucking retarded shit I've heard in a while. The covert CIA guys have to fucking hold their arms up to talk into mics that are apparently wired into their sleeves? Bourne gets a thumb drive with some data on it, and the thumb drive is this giant black stick with the word "ENCRYPTED" written in big white letters on it.

The thing is, the previous films in the series made by Greengrass weren't terrible or anything. They were kinda shakey and had some questionable dialogue and plot stuff, but they weren't fucking retarded like this. They have an action scene during a fucking shit-on-fire-everywhere riot, and they're just casually driving vans and cars and motorcycles and shit through police lines and through crowded streets at like 60 MPH like it's no big deal.

Jesus, this movie has gotten even worse in the few minutes I've been writing this.

And the "Iron Hand" thing. They may as well start a new covert black ops project and call it the "Illegal Assassination" program.

"I installed some malware into her laptop and I can track her when she uses the files next!!"

God this movie is just the fucking worst. Like, I haven't felt the need to do a blow-by-blow write-up before the movie is even halfway through since that one movie about the black gangster dudes that decide to start a turf war with asians over land that they want to build a WalMart on. This movie is THAT BAD.

There is no fucking way in hell I would recommend this movie to anyone with half a fucking brain. It is upsettingly bad. I know this was sort of an incoherent rant, and the paragraphs are sorta jumbled with sentences sorta randomly strewn about with no rhyme or reason, but that's pretty much what watching this movie feels like. Random nonsense that is hard to understand.


(2,074 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Just watched Arrival. Fucking genius movie.
Haven't felt that excited about the structure of a film since Cloud Atlas.


(2,074 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Watched Deepwater Horizon:


It was a Peter Berg movie. To me, the defining thing about Peter Berg's films is that they are totally forgettable. Not that they're all terrible, but that he does absolutely nothing interesting. I wouldn't even call it workman-like. It's near-workman-like. He's not quite there. It's like watching a competent, bland Youtube creator make a big-budget movie.

The movie isn't terrible or anything, but it's not that good, either. Berg has the same notion as a lot of big-budget popcorn-flick directors to try to appeal to US audiences by just shoving in shots of flags for no reason. The saddest thing about this movie is that J C Chandor was originally going to direct it and was working on his own version of the script alongside the NY Times writer that the script was based on, and they were both apparently really happy with the resulting script. Shortly afterward it was announced that Berg was taking over and Chandor was leaving due to 'creative differences'.

I would liked to have seen Chandor's version of this film, but I'm certain that the 'creative differences' were due to Chandor wanting to make an actual movie and the studios just wanting to have some focus-tested broadly appealing safe tentpole movie. Which sucks, cause Chandor's version would most likely have been memorable in some way. This version will be totally forgotten.

It's not terrible, tho. it's just half-assed. There are a few attempts to be schmaltzy, with guys going above and beyond and risking their lives to save their buddies, but it's all done kinda blandly. Not gritty and realistic, but not like 'movie' style, where music swells and you watch a dude struggle to his last breath to do the thing that's gonna save his friends, and the friends in harm's way and then realizing they're alive, but then realizing that their friend died to save them... Like a big dumb movie is supposed to do to get the idiot audience members all weepy and shit. It's trying to be that kind of movie, but Berg is and always has been fucking terrible at it. The only thing worse than a Micheal Bay or Roland Emmerich is a guy like Berg who endeavors to be that and fails miserably.

Bottom line, tho, is that it's not unwatchable and has its moments, but at the end of the day it's just bland and forgettable.

EDIT: Nice Guys:


It was pretty good. I guess I generally don't have a lot to say about movies that I like, cause the ones I like a lot I never tend to write big-ass, multi-paragraph posts about how much I like them. Maybe I'm too negative.

I didn't like the part where he finds the body by the tree. It felt like Gosling fucked it up and decided to go big for the blooper reel but then they actually put it into the movie. Aside from that, I thought it was a pretty great flick, though I don't think the two of them had the best chemistry. Clever script, tho. That Shane Black fella sure can write a movie. It's weird that it wasn't set during christmas, tho.


(2,074 replies, posted in Off Topic)

There's a movie that's supposed to come out this year called "Cessation" that is based on a Stephen King short called "The Ten O'Clock People", which is basically a Stephen King version of They Live. Instead of magic sunglasses that let you see the aliens, it's a brain chemistry thing that happens when you're quitting smoking, but still smoke every once in a while. The "Ten O'clock" in the title refers to people in office buildings who go outside to have a smoke and then go back to work, so you have maybe three or four in a day, but you used to smoke a lot. So something turns on in your brain and you can see the aliens for what they are.

Instead of subliminal messages and shit like that, you just start to realize that most of the people with any sort of power are actually these alien people, so humans have essentially been enslaved by an alien species without being aware of it.

The plot breaks down when you think about it (as it does in They Live) because, like... why do the aliens need our crappy worthless money? Why do the aliens need to control a population that's limited to one little planet in the hick backwoods of the galaxy? But it's a neat concept in theory. I'm interested to see how they take about 20 minutes worth of short story and turn it into a feature. Probably with lots of explosions and action and shit.

They Live is one of those flicks that you only remember because a few scenes stand out, but rewatching it reminds you that it's mostly not good and has just a few scenes that are decent. Kinda like The Untouchables.


(2,074 replies, posted in Off Topic)

That's interesting. I've always wanted to see it since I found out it was a thing, especially after Life Is Beautiful came out and was pretty great. I've wanted to see if Lewis was maybe on to a similar sort of plot concept or if it was a very different take on a similar sort of subject.

I assume the version you saw was not available on the interwebs? If not I guess I'll have to wait until 2020 or 2025 or whenever it's supposed to become publicly available via the library of congress.

Still playing catch-up from last year, I saw Sully:


I liked it quite a bit, but it left me wondering if a more straight-forward narrative wouldn't have worked better since he focused so heavily on Sully himself and the way he was thrown into this crazy post-incident limelight and scrutiny. I felt like we should have gotten to know him a bit more as a character pre-incident so we could have something to compare with the post-incident version.

I really liked the climactic moment(s) of the film, tho. The climactic apex of the film is when Sully and his co-pilot go into a hallway and have a short conversation and then go back to the hearing. It's not done with crazy orchestra swelling or some kind of emotional monologue or anything. It's treated almost as an aside, but it's like THE moment for both of those characters. I liked it a lot.

So yeah, highly recommend.


(2,074 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Yeah, the original is pretty damned great. So weird that a flick from that era of pure cheese sci-fi schlock could feel more relevant today than most of the crap that gets made now.


(17 replies, posted in Off Topic)

I didn't watch many movies from 2016, so I could probably just list all of them and what I thought of them:

1) The Witch - finely crafted flick that starts out hitting lots of home runs for me and then ends up wiffing a few toward the end. Really good overall, tho. I mostly admire the balls it took to stick to the period dialogue and the really slow pacing through most of it.

2) Deadpool - I loved it completely. It physically hurts me to know that Rob Liefeld is probably making serious bank off the royalties.

3) Zootopia - Also loved it.

4) Triple 9 - Hated. The best scene in the movie is a ten minute long raid that contributes nothing at all to the film until the last ten seconds. You could cut it out entirely and not lose anything except an exciting scene. The rest of the movie is similar. You could probably cut it down to 20 minutes and get every plot and character beat in there.

5) Criminal - Pretty decent until the third act. I liked Costner's character. He's a complete bastard for most of the movie and is not likable at all. The film uses him to its advantage for the first half, having him do one horrible thing after another. But then he kinda starts to flip and he becomes a better person. It's a halfway decent arc. But then the plot has to end and the movie goes completely off the rails, including a third act where the movie flat-out tells you how it's going to end ten minutes before it ends. No joke.

6) Green Room - This is possibly my favorite film of the year. Absolutely bleak and depressing and violent. The really great writing. The film doesn't give a shit about the way you feel about its characters, and will coldly kill whoever it feels like whenever it feels like, usually in very undignified and horrifying ways. Does a lot of really smart things early on to get you to like all the characters and make them feel real. Great flick.

7) Jungle Book - Better than I thought it was going to be. Reasonably watchable family-friendly entertainment.

8) ID4: Resurgence - Boring and stupid. They made the wrong movie. Most people said that Judd Hirsch's plotline with the kids on the bus should have been cut out, but I think they should have just made that the whole fuckin movie. It's the only moments of the film that feel kinda real. The scene where the fighter-pilot guy watched his mom die feels bullshit. The scene where Hirsch asks about their parents and no one says anything and then the older one kinda starts crying... Those sequences were so much fucking better than the rest of the flick.

9) Legend of Tarzan - half art-film, half tentpole CGI action movie with cartoon animals. There are a few really good moments in the movie. None of them involve Tarzan.

10) Kubo & The Two Strings - much dislike. One good thing I can say about it is that it didn't bother to explain some of the shit that it didn't need to. A lot of movies would have had all kinds of exposition for backstory on how the kid came to be able to animate the paper with his little Japan-banjo (I forget the name of the instrument...), and magic and folklore, and they didn't bother to explain all kinds of japanese shit except for the lanterns. A lot of movies do that stuff. It's annoying. That's all the credit I'm willing to give this movie, tho. It's pretty, too.

11) Uh... That's it...

I saw ten of the movies that came out in 2016. And that's what I thought of them.

This year will be different. I'm going to see as many movies as I can.


(6 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Ghost in the Shell could be an amazing film if they do it right. I can't say the casting is all fantastic, in my opinion, but they've got one cast member that has grabbed me by the balls and will absolutely make me go see the movie: Takeshi Kitano as Chief Aramaki. I'd like to imagine that the only reason he's in there is because the director needed him to be in it, just to get to work with him. He's probably not the best choice to play that character. It'll be interesting.

That said, it kinda feels like a studio-lead fan-boy adaptation of a movie that they hired a bunch of light-weight up-and-comers to work up a general-audiences PG-13 sci-fi/action flick that would be easy to market and cheap to produce. The creative people behind it are so untested and new to the business that they can probably dictate how the film should be made, easily get their notes worked into the movie, etc. I'm hopeful about it, tho. The trailer had some interesting visuals going on.

The film is, I think, going to be a pretty much straight up adaptation of the original anime film, not the later stuff and not the books. The books are easily the best way to get that story. It's a shame, really, since the anime is a very poor adaptation of one of the early arcs in the books, leaving out a FUCKLOAD of stuff and dropping some fucking fantastic characters, like the Fuchikoma. The Fuchis are so fucking adorably bad-ass.

I really hope and wish that the film does some more of the book stuff, but I fear that it will instead be an americanized version of the anime that loses even more stuff than the original anime lost, and then changes things to the point where it becomes an adaptation by just having characters with names and a few key events in the film.

As context: I loved the anime version when I saw it in the mid-to-late 90s, and got the books as a result. After reading the books, my opinion of the film plummeted. It's such an abridged version of just one arc of the books that it's really just disappointing to watch it after reading the books. They should have made a series out of the books instead of a movie, but the later series have almost nothing to do with the books, either.

If you've never read them, read the books. They are simply amazing.

I like big action movies, but I rarely allow myself to get excited about them, and generally assume that they're all going to be shit by default. Just as a way to prevent myself from being disappointed when they're terrible tongue


Bladerunner 2049: I was 100% against it, but the trailer moment where Deckard and Fassbender square off gives me some hope that maybe - just maybe - Deckard is a replicant. If he's not a replicant, then fuck that movie hard in the face. Deckard being human is the Bladerunner equivalent of midichlorians. He's a replicant and somehow figured out how to increase his lifespan, or the limited lifespan was not part of his design, as neither he nor Rachael were meant to know they were replicants and as such were designed as experiments to create longer-lived replicants that would be more docile and easier to control. I will not accept a human Deckard. It breaks the original film for me.


(6 replies, posted in Off Topic)

I'll be honest and say that I haven't even thought much about this until today. I dunno why, but I only got out to the theater four times in 2016: Deadpool, Triple 9, Criminal and Green Room. That's it. And half of them were crap.

So I resolved to go to see more movies this year, and as a result I'm going to actually make a calendar and plan things out from the beginning. I want to see at least a couple of movies each month, and ideally at least one film a week.

So I started going through movies that are going to be coming out in 2017 and came up with a list of some of them that look the most interesting to me. I'll be seeing a lot more than this, but these are things that I am at least mildly excited about:

John Wick 2 - The first one was decent enough to make me interested in a sequel. I like it when Keanu Reeves shoots people, so more movies where he's shooting people is a good thing.

Mother - Darren Aronofsky's next flick. Doesn't have a release date yet, as far as I know, but it's supposed to be out this year. One of the few remaining directors whose flicks I will see without even seeing the trailer.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - One of the few 'fanboy' flicks I'm interested in this year. I couldn't give a rat's ass about Justice League, Spider Man or whatever half-dozen Avengers / X-Men / DC movies get released. This one interests me, mainly because the first one was super-fun and not trying to do anything more than just be a fun adventure film with interesting and likable characters that all had their own weird-o quirks and shit. The trailers look good so far.

Free Fire - A24 release. Ensemble cast in a period action/comedy about a gun deal in a warehouse that goes south and everyone just starts killing each other. Looks like it'll be fun. I don't think it has a release date, either. Some time in 2017.

Dunkirk - New Chris Nolan flick. No need to say any more than that. Guy's flicks are always very watchable, even if they're not without their various flaws.

War for the Planet of the Apes - The first two were both surprisingly good. Better than I expected either of them to be, honestly. So I have high hopes for this one as well. I hope it doesn't disappoint.

Logan Lucky - Soderbergh's new flick. I have no idea what it's even about, but the cast looks great, and It's a Steven Soderbergh flick. A comedy, apparently. He's one of those directors whose stuff I will always check out. He's less consistent than the other directors on my little list of 'must-see' directors, but he's a power-hitter. When he manages to get a solid hit, the ball goes out of the park.

Star Wars 8 - There are like 5 different reasons I'm excited about this movie, and the fact that it's Star Wars is probably the least important of them. I've got two theories about this movie, and I'm interested in seeing if they pan out or not. I'm also interested to see what Rian Johnson's take on a SW flick will look like.

And, yeah. There are some others that look mildly interesting or have interesting casts, but those are the ones that I will most definitely see as soon as possible.


(1,389 replies, posted in Off Topic)

New "History Buffs" episode on Apollo 13 is pretty good. One of my favorite channels on Youtube, currently. He had a bit of a break for the last couple months, but this is a pretty epic look at the history of the space program on top of looking at the historical accuracy of the film.


(2,074 replies, posted in Off Topic)

Kubo & The Two Strings:


It was OK?

So, like...  This movie got fucking amazing reviews and word-of-mouth. "OMG bro, the movie is like, really fucking amazing looking and has a really awesome, kinda bittersweet story about loss and life and shit... It's SO FUCKING GREAT!!! A++++ WOULD WATCH AGAIN!!"

But, like... It was OK?

I mean... I didn't really like it a whole lot. I liked it OK, tho. Lemme fuckin tunnel into this one a bit, cause I can sense that no one's on board with me, here...

So the pacing of this movie sucks. A lot. It opens well enough, but it's trying to cram a fairy-tale-type epic quest adventure sort of plot into a little 100 minute movie (and a number of those minutes are credits). It has this kinda break-neck pace that a lot - A LOT - of modern films suffer from. Bad movies, too. This movie is actually trying to not suck, tho, so it isn't really that bad, but it's doing itself no favors with the pacing.

Because the movie is trying to be this really emotional flick, but it gives itself absolutely no time at all for character-building and to nail its themes and shit. The monkey just shows up, and is just accepted immediately. There's a "WTF, A MONKEY" sort of scene later, but everything is so fucking rushed, and it comes AFTER the initial intro of this character, and it feels so fucking forced and wrong... And then they rush through that fucking scene.

The opening scenes have such promise, too. The first real scene of the film is where Kubo wakes up and goes through his morning routine, and it's gloriously mute and takes its time to breathe a bit. There are precious-few scenes like that in the film at all. They don't dwell an ANY moments for more than a second or two. We got plot shit to take care of, mother fuckers! We can't have our character sit there and mourn some shit for a while, or sit there and admire some pretty scenery, or sit there and be amazed at some really amazing magical shit that's going on. Fuck all that noise, bro, we only got like 40 minutes to have three fight scenes and two quest items and some back story and some important PLOT TWIST moments to cram in there! We gotta keep the pace marching right along!

I mean... the pacing genuinely kills this movie, and it's all in the characters and the kinda poor writing. Was anyone honestly surprised by the "plot twists" about the characters? I mean, they fucking telegraphed that shit for THE ENTIRE MOVIE up to that point. It was kinda pathetic.

But then they meet this dude, and the monkey doesn't like or trust him, and then ONE SCENE LATER all three of them are acting like they've known each other for fucking years and being all sarcastic and ... 'informal' with each other. Too comfortable and weird. They should have fleshed that relationship out with a lot more getting-to-know-each-other shit.

The "we have to find a bunch of shit" plot was also really cramped and smooshed together and some of the beats made no fucking sense at all. I think they were trying for comedy in a couple of beats, but it just came off as really weird and stupid. And there's a weird fascination with eyes that they put way more emphasis on than was necessary. The plot points came out of nowhere, and the 'trials' that the characters go through to get their hands on the magical doodads have no thematic relevance to the characters or their relationship or any other aspect of the story. Just things to have happen for some reason. They don't even spend much time looking for them. They just kinda stumble onto them by accident the whole time.

I was just really disappointed by the whole thing. I will give them the cinematography, which is pretty as all hell. Laika is obviously very good at the technical aspects of photography and staging and animation.

But, I mean...  It was OK?

It was OK.

EDIT: I take it back... It's not OK. The more I think about it, the less I like it.


(49 replies, posted in Creations)

OK, I've made some decisions about this:

1) This larger project is going on hiatus for the time being:
The reasoning behind this is that I dislike the way SFML does things. I have a vision in my head of how the drawing, updating, etc functions should be working in my games, but SFML is written with in a very OOP / polymorphic / inheritance sort of way. Trying to get a component system running would require me to write entire chunks of code that would essentially be replacing their code. After thinking about it for a while, the best solution was to simple use their OpenGL context to write my own direct draw calls straight to the OpenGL buffer(s).

Since that is the case, I figured it would be a good idea to circumvent SFML entirely and simply create my own, simpler context without all of their weird OOP overhead. I don't want to use their library this way only to find later that there's some other section that I need to entirely rewrite.

2) I need more practice writing the necessary systems:
It would be nice to have some much smaller-scale systems under my belt before I try to tackle something that complex. I haven't really had too many problems with the systems thus far, but the previous turn-based incarnation went through multiple rewrites due to my inexperience with these systems. I figure I should back the fuck up a bit and implement all of the necessary systems in smaller games that won't require that they be horrible complex and massive and scale up the complexity as I go.

So for now I'm going to create much smaller games that are finished and polished. These smaller games will have a growing level of complexity to them, or they'll achieve some coding goal for me. I'm going to start with a simple Breakout clone. I already have a basic framework of the application in place.

All of the games will be part of one app, so I think from now on I'll just update the thread whenever I finish one of the games and make the binary available so you can try it out if you'd like (and probably experience bugs that I missed tongue). So that's the plan for now.


(49 replies, posted in Creations)

First version with something that happens. You can scroll the 'map'. Choppy-looking as fuck right now, but I just hacked it in through the 'event' code, not through actual game code. I have to write a proper 'camera' system, but I can't really do that until I start getting entities in, cause it'll be mostly tied to the player.

Drawing a 100x100 tile grid (10,000 tiles), but culling them down to around 240 or so. When I'm not recording it manages to get itself up over 1000 FPS, so I guess the drawing is about as optimized as it's gonna get for now.

Need to rewrite the tile object to support animation and give it a few more variables, but after that, the tile code will be more or less finished and I can flesh out the map code a bit and generate a nice little testing area to start working on more interesting stuff.

Using a tileset I found on the interwebs. It'll look more pretty maybe tomorrow. Probably not by much, tho tongue


I was working on some animated tile / sprite stuff, and I think I stumbled upon a really interesting way to generate tilemaps programmatically rather than adding things my hand. That way, I can use a basic txt file (like xml or something) to define a bunch of tiles by name. The game would store these as a tilemap, with the references to the texture coordinates of each tile. You could add the tiles and keep track of stuff by name, as well as set up their collision areas. It would require a bit of a function to load all of the bits and store them, but you'd end up with a tilemap object that would store a big-ass list of tiles. You could then use a similar method to define the actual map, by referencing which 'tilemap'(s) you want to use (so that you could, for example, have themed areas that would have different types of ground, grass, rocks, decoration, etc, but you'd still be using the same tiles for certain elements.

Honestly, I think I might be leaping a bit too fast before I plan this shit out a bit. I thought I had a solid idea on paper, but it's one of those things where I keep thinking of ways to improve stuff.

It all boils down to data storage and retrieval and how easy it is to manipulate that data. I'm inclined to sorta rewrite the 'world' I've got thus far, as an object which does absolutely nothing except store and retrieve the data for various aspects of the game. IE, not at all object oriented, but instead a more data-oriented approach. Still using classes, but where the class methods would be mostly used to gain access to data references that would in turn be handed over to plain-old functions.

I really need to sit down with some paper and plan out the way I'm storing data (again), cause I don't want to sit here recoding shit just to alter the tilemaps / maps / animations / etc. I need to have systems to load and reference that data automatically. Then I can pretty easily make and alter the tiles, maps, animations, sprites, etc without having to recompile or rewrite the texture coordinates for each tile or frame of animation if I decide to change something later.

I would spend all of my time just doing that and not writing the game's systems...

So I guess that's what needs to happen first.


(249 replies, posted in Off Topic)


Welcome back to the forum, Dorkman!