Monday, October 3, 2016

13th Review and Other Fandom Articles

Fandom does not really seem like the type of place to be very politics friendly. Most of the crap that gets written there is Star Wars and Batman speculation. And I'm not anti-Star Wars or anti-Batman. But I also understand that the site has a particular audience and they want to see video games and Luke Cage and nonsense.

But I sort of broke the rules this time using Ava DuVernay's newest move, "13th". Even though the post is just a review, and a short one, it felt like important writing. So I'm sharing it here, I'm sharing it everywhere I can. Because "13th" is an essential movie. Here's the article:

"13th" is going to be released to Netflix on October 7th. I strongly recommend you give it a watch. If you want to know part of the reason that 2016 has been such a shit storm of a year, why racial tension in this country has hit a twenty year high, you must see it. (And read my review, of course. Like, comment, subscribe, etc. etc.)

While I'm here, I might as well share everything else I've written recently. It's the New York Film Festival so I have a pile of reviews from there, along with other content.

Beyond the Bikini: Why 'Metal Gear Solid V's Quiet Deserves to be Heard Published 10/3

NYFF Preview: 'Manchester by the Sea' Published 10/2

NYFF Preview: 'Moonlight' Published 9/23

NYFF Preview: 'Fire at Sea' Published 9/23

NYFF Preview: 'I, Daniel Blake' Published 9/22

Is 'No Man's Sky' an Indie Game? Published 9/21

The Bleak World of 'Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun' Published 10/2

Weird Watch: 'Inland Empire' Published 9/25

Monday, September 26, 2016

On Election 2016: Pick the Least Worst Candidate

Tonight America will get to see two people they hate remind the nation why they should hate each other. 2016 is turning into one of those “the other guy is worse” elections. Only a tiny minority of voters actually want Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump to be president. Only about 10% of the population even voted for these people to represent the Democratic and Republican parties. These candidates do not need to promise a thing. They don’t need plans or legislation or even to govern, just as long as the other guy does not get to rule.

If you listen to the rhetoric around this election, both of these candidates will lead this country to disaster. Hillary is a crooked spymaster, a wicked scheming eunuch of her husband’s court that has been bought and sold by powerful interests. And Donald Trump is a fascist leading a white supremacist revolution that will turn this country into Columbia from “BioShock Infinite”. They're both old, they're both crooked, they're both ugly, they're both out to steal America away from you.

The problem for me is that once you cut out the hyperbolic bullshit, I think both of these candidates are terrible choices. I’m still going to vote for Hillary Clinton, but I’ll do so with my eyes open. Neither one of these candidates will solve the dysfunction in Washington, neither one will bring this country together, neither one can solve our foreign policy issues, neither one can fix the economy. If either candidate wins, we are looking at a circus of four bad years in Washington to follow.

Do not think for a second that the moment your least favorite candidate loses that you can breathe a sigh of relief. Do you really think the Republicans are just going to sit back and let Hillary Clinton be president unchallenged? Do you think Trump will just build his wall and bomb families indiscriminately without backlash?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fandom Articles Catch-Up

Tragically, blogger-bros, I don't have anything new for you right now. (Writing schedule has been busy.) But I haven't forgotten about the blog, I'll try to keep you in the loop better. If you want to follow along with non-blog articles, make sure to follow me on Twitter (@BlueHighwind) if you haven't already. As you can see, I haven't been lazy, just... distracted.

There's also a Facebook page that's even more barren than this place.

Anyway, here's the articles that have come up in about the last month or so:

‘Sonic 3 & Knuckles’ Was the Best Ending to Sonic’s Golden Age - Published 8/8

Weird Watch: ‘The Spirit’ - Published 8/20

A Look at ‘Overwatch’ Hero Memes - Published 8/22

Crash Course: Dragon Quest - Published 8/31

The Failure of Final Fantasy Movies - Published 9/5 (For some reason people really seem to like this one.)

Fall Movie Preview: Movies for Nerds - Published 9/12

Metroid Fans Still Want Metroid Games, But Does Nintendo? - Published 9/12

Batman's Trouble With the Ladies - Published 9/17.

Also, got a press pass to New York Film Festival this year! Haha.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Kingsglaive vs Kubo: Try Not to Cut Yourself on Your Cutting Edge

Last weekend two revolutionary cutting-edge animated feature films came out. This is unusual since on most weekends not a single revolutionary or cutting-edge animated feature film comes out. Just watch the trailer for "The Wild Life" - this is the kind of ambition-less crap that we usually get. But last weekend we were spoiled. Two ambitious studios, Laika and Square Enix, both dropped two of the most visually impressive films of the year. On two separate frontiers of animation, stop-motion and photo-realistic CG, their movies pushed the envelopes. On a technical level this is incredible stuff.

"Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV", the two hour trailer for the upcoming video game, is a step way beyond anything Square Enix has made before. There is serious graphical horsepower on display here, featuring a world and characters that could very easily fool you into being live action. The people still are slightly mutated Final Fantasy beings, with eyes a bit too large and their movements not quite right. But otherwise, it is a startlingly realistic-looking film.

Meanwhile, "Kubo and the Two Strings" is an incredible jump up from Laika's previous films, "Para-Norman" and "The Box Trolls". They're attempting a full action fantasy film with the artistic elegance and style of a Studio Ghibli production. They've kept their slightly twisted Laika style, but have something legitimately beautiful. All this is possible thanks to the possibilities of 3D printing for more detailed characters and faster production. Laika is showing that there is no limit to the potential of stop-motion animation.

But when you get past the technical level, one of these movies is a pile of shit. Unfortunately, Square Enix still can't actually tell a good story. Laika can.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Can Anybody Tell Me Why I Liked Suicide Squad?

At the moment things are not going too well for Warner Bros' last-minute race to catch up with Marvel. Actually things are not going too well for the entire film industry in general. This summer has been a disastrous wasteland. Ever since I wrote up my list of the Best Movies of 2016 So Far, it feels like nothing at all has come out. Sure, there have been huge blockbuster movies, but does anybody care about a new Jason Bourne? Did anybody really care about "Ghostbusters" once the controversy died down? Did you even know a fucking Tarzan movie came out? I didn't. And to nobody's shock, the box office is hurting.

"Suicide Squad" was released last Friday to reviews that ranged from "OH MY GOD, MY FACE IS ON FIRE" to "OH MY GOD, THE WORLD IS ON FIRE". This coming just six months after Warner Bros farted out "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Possibly the Worst Movie of the Decade". It is not good for anybody at Warner Bros or the industry. "Man of Steel" was Strike One, "BvS" is Strike Two. In order to save this ballgame, DC needed a grand slam. Instead they got "Suicide Squad", a movie everybody hates. Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the movies - fuck you, 27% on Rotten Tomatoes. If you ever needed evidence that you should have just stayed home and finished "Stranger Things", this was it.

I'm not going to mince words. Why should I? People are going to be a lot meaner than me when it comes to this movie. "Suicide Squad" is a mess. It was clearly torn to pieces in editing. Director David Ayer seems to have had a gritty Tarantino-esque superhero movie by way of crime thriller in mind. But the studio wanted a new "Guardians of the Galaxy"... oh wait no, they wanted a new "Deadpool". The results are clear. The movie is half flashback. Then those flashbacks are followed by exposition that explain the flashbacks. There's a desperation in the editing as the soundtrack goes from one Top 100 Hit of Yesteryear to another in a truly sad attempt to inject fun in the proceedings. And Jared Leto's Joker is shit.

So can anybody explain to me why I liked "Suicide Squad"? Could you explain why I'm even going to give this movie a recommendation?