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Everything posted by Siromatic

  1. The Dancing Thumb (aka: music recommendations)

    Since we're in the heart of fall I figured I'd post some autumnal tracks: I also put together a longer playlist with 30 songs total (that includes the two songs posted above), if anyone wants a more sustained autumnal vibe: Hope everyone on the forum/slack has a great weekend and Halloween! Enjoy the rest of fall!
  2. Idle Thumbs Hiatus

    I still check the forums regularly. (Have been since late 2013.) Haven't posted much since I'm often too busy to do so, but I enjoy reading what y'all have to say. Actually had something in mind I wanted to write-up for the "In the Valley of Gods" thread based on the limited info about the game that's out there (mostly the written description on its Steam page). Y'all are right that forum activity seems to have dropped a lot since the main podcasts went on what's now looking like it may be a permanent hiatus, but I imagine folks will post in that thread whenever new info about the game comes out. (My guess would be we'll see a new trailer sometime in 2019 with a release date, or maybe no set release date if they want to take more time with it/have it come out in 2020 or beyond.) I'll still check-in and try to post when I have time. Though yeah I'll understand if no one responds/no discussion takes place since it does seem the main podcasts were what kept a lot of people regularly checking in. If the casting of pods from the Thumbs proper (Idle Thumbs, Idle Book Club, Important If True) has indeed completely ceased: thanks for all them great pods y'all. I'll definitely be relistening to old episodes. Hope y'all are doing well/having a blast.
  3. E3 2018

    The games shown over the last month or so I'm most interested in are "Ooblets," "Tunic," "Sable," and "Tetris Effect." ("Overcooked 2" also looks like a solid follow-up; I'm hoping the netcode is good enough to make it an enjoyable experience. And if the GB folks, Idle Thumbs, or Steve Gaynor stream them playing through the new "Hitman 2" missions I'll watch that in a heartbeat. Not the kind of game I'm interested in playing, but I bought the first one since I got so much enjoyment watching the folks I just mentioned streaming it and will do the same with the second.) "Ooblets" has elements from "Harvest Moon," "Animal Crossing," and "Pokemon," done in a distinctive visual style and charming atmosphere. I think this game has a real shot of being even more enjoyable than all the ones it's inspired by. But even if not, it'll still surely be a good time. Wonderful trailer with great music: "Tunic" looks like a relatively simple isometric action adventure game, but the wonderful and unique art style and gorgeous music elevate it into must-play territory for me. Again, wonderful trailer with incredible music: "Sable" is probably the most interesting game shown off recently. Gorgeous art style inspired by Moebius and Ghibli, with the main character's animation being purposefully limited, and great lighting. It sounds like this game is all about exploration (i.e. no combat), so its overall quality will probably live or die by the quality of its narrative and how engaging that exploration/world design is. But even if the narrative isn't good, it's still such a striking and well-realized world that it'll likely be worth experiencing. Yet another wonderful trailer with great music: And lastly "Tetris Effect." Tetsuya Mizuguchi working on an officially licensed "Tetris" game. What more needs to be said? Not just the best video game trailer I've seen in a long time, but one of the best trailers I've ever seen, period. Sure, it's just "Tetris" (with way more of an emphasis on the synergy between audio and visuals) but it's gonna be the best damn version of "Tetris" ever made. Can't wait:
  4. RetroThumbs

    Lots of Super Nt impressions and reviews came out today. Everything looks/sounds great so far. Linneman's Digital Foundry video is coming out this Sunday, which will likely be the best for video, audio, and performance comparisons. But there's already some great videos out today about it. I'd recommend: Gamexplain's video showing the visual differences between an unmodded original SNES, the SNES Classic, and the Super Nt, which makes it pretty clear the Super Nt produces the best, most faithful 1080p image of SNES games. My Life in Gaming's video has some good comparisons as well, a lot more in-depth information, and is interspersed with a video interview with Kevtris (the person responsible for the FPGA in the Super Nt). And Jeremy Parish's video gives a nice general overview of the system. Pretty cool. This is the best, most authentic way to play SNES games in 1080p now. Really love the design of the hardware and packaging (by Cory Schmitz), boot-up screen (designed by Phil Fish; audio by Squarepusher), etc. The only way this system could be more perfect would be if it accepted Saturn Model 2 (Japanese Model 1) controllers, since those are the best 2D controllers ever made, but the SNES controller is good enough. Big thumbs-up from me.
  5. Very well said, Simon, and completely agreed! I have the softcover version of the reprint designed by Jake and it's one of the most well designed books I own. (Check out the hardcover and some early design sketches here.) Seriously, it's my favorite book, along with "Perfect Nonsense: The Chaotic Comics and Goofy Games of George Carlson" (which is the most well-designed and beautiful book I've ever seen), the massive-sized "Peanuts Color Sundays" volumes, Dame Darcy's "Meat Cake Bible," the Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse volumes, some of the John Canemaker art books, and some of the prose Penguin Classics deluxe edition books. Jake is up there with Tony Ong and Jacob Covey from Fantagraphics as one of the best book designers of all-time, though sadly it seems like it was just a one-time passion project for him. If y'all publish an "Art of Campo Santo" book in the future, you've already got the perfect person to design it! It's a shame the 2008 reprint Jake designed is now out of print as well. Prices on Amazon and eBay for the softcover seem pretty high for one in like new or new condition. But it might be possible to get a new copy for a more reasonable price if there's anyone that is just now learning about it and would like a physical copy over the digital tablet/smartphone version. I sent an email to the Cartoon Art Museum a few years ago inquiring about getting a copy since they had a Purcell "Sam & Max" exhibit at the time and a bookstore attached to the museum (since they relocated it looks like the physical bookstore isn't open at their new location yet, though they do have a limited amount of items in their online store). They kindly forwarded me to someone named Joel who said he worked with Steve Purcell periodically. He was able/kind enough to send me a brand new copy of the softcover halfway across the U.S. for $30 (new book + shipping) via Paypal. This was in July of 2014. I don't want to give out precise info since I don't know if he has any more copies or would be able to do the same for anyone else, but it seems possible. If anyone in the U.S. is sure they'd want a copy, feel free to PM me and I'll email him, ask if he has any more he'd be willing to send out, and if so give you his email address to make the transaction (you're just giving him your address to ship it to you and he'll give you the email address to pay via Paypal). Would be really cool if someday Purcell is able to publish a new book of the work he's done since being at Pixar, along with any new "Sam & Max" or personal artwork. Several Pixar employees have been allowed to publish work while at the company: Sanjay Patel has published personal work via Chronicle Books, and Enrico Casarosa and Ronnie Del Carmen have both published personal work, too. All three of them have had some of their Pixar work published via Chronicle and Disney Press, as well. Lorelay Bove, Brittney Lee, Claire Keane, Lisa Keene, Victoria Ying, and Helen Chen were all able to publish their personal work via Design Studio Press a few years ago, too, so it seems like Disney Feature Animation is fine with employees publishing personal work, as well. (Speaking of Pixar, let's fucking hope it's confirmed that Lasseter is out for good sometime soon.) Could you imagine if Purcell was able to direct a "Sam & Max" short or feature-length movie at Pixar? That'd be pretty damn cool. Sanjay Patel's "Sanjay's Super Team" is the best short Pixar has made so far, in my opinion. Would love if they started letting employees spearhead projects with their own ideas instead of only letting the same five or six people be in charge (this would have the side benefit of getting them out of this god awful sequel malaise they've been in this entire decade), and good lord after all the shit that's come out about what Lasseter put women employees through for *decades* let's hope they let more women be directors/in charge and not unceremoniously boot them off the project 3/4th of the way through like they did to Brenda Chapman.
  6. The Asian Film Thread

    Oh yeah, totally agree that there's a lot of not-great movies made elsewhere, and that there's surely some campy fun to be had in some of them that we're likely not going to experience/know about since what we receive here is purposefully filtered/tailored for the market. My point was simply that since the best movies made outside America are often of a much higher quality than the best that are made here, I also presume the same is true for mid and low-tier (in terms of quality) works. Take "Miss Hokusai," for example, an animated movie I could have mentioned for this thread but purposefully didn't because though its premise and elements of it are great, the execution of the movie as a whole unfortunately falls a bit flat. I'd consider it a mid-tier movie in terms of quality. That said, what it's about is better and more interesting than 99% of animated movies made here in America. The movie isn't executed as well as the best movies from Laika, Pixar, and Disney, but it also was made with a fraction of the budget, people, and resources as movies made by those American companies (and like all foreign movies also made an infinitesimal fraction at the box office compared to movies made by those American companies). And when I say a fraction, I'm not exaggerating. Can't find a specific number for the budget of "Miss Hokusai," but the production company has 120 people *total* and also does television and video game work, so I doubt everyone was on the project. 120 people is 1/10 the amount of people Pixar has, so one can assume the budget is also a tiny fraction of what one is for a Pixar movie, and the reported box office gross is 0.0003265% that of Pixar's latest movie "Coco." Of course "Coco" played at hundreds if not a thousand more theaters than "Miss Hokusai" did, but even if foreign animated movies played at the same amount of theaters as an American animated movie does, it seems highly likely they would still make a fraction of what they do at the box office. Also even if you compare "Miss Hokusai" to a smaller-sized American animation studio whose movies unfortunately do the lowest numbers at the box office (Laika), it's still a fraction. The "Miss Hokusai" production company has 3/10 the amount of people Laika has, again you can assume a fraction of the budget, and made 0.003184% what Laika's most recent movie ("Kubo and the Two Strings") did. So a bit better, but still pretty far from 1% of the total gross of the worst-performing (god why do more people not go see Laika movies they're really fucking good) contemporary American animated movie from a major studio. (I probably should have compared "Miss Hokusai" to the worst or mid-tier quality movies from both those companies, such as "Cars 2" and "The Boxtrolls," but the numbers would be very similar.) Me hoping that more American moviegoers seek out foreign movies is so we get exactly the kind of movies you're talking about--ones that previously would have only been known about by people that live in the places they come from. (My point in giving the stats above was to convey that if just 1/50 of the people that show up for major American movie releases went and saw foreign movies, they'd be doing much better financially and we'd get even more of them.) I'd love to get way more mid and low-tier quality foreign movies, and I'd also love for the people that make the best ones to do better financially so they can make even more great movies, etc. (Though of course no matter what there's always going to be creative works that are only known locally--whether it's isolated to a town, state, or entire country. Some stuff just never breaks through to a wider audience. But I do strongly think that if foreign movies made more money at the box office, we'd see companies taking more risks in terms of what movies get distribution, how many get the green-light in the first place, etc.) So if foreign movies are made with a fraction of the people, budget, and resources as American movies, and yet are often so much better in quality (like I said earlier, compare "A Separation" to anything that has been made in this decade so far here in America), what accounts for the discrepancy in quality? Surely a multitude of factors, but one that stands out to me is the sad fact that the story of America so far has been the story of white mediocrity in control. (And I don't say that to be harsh or hypocritical--I'm one of if not *the* most mediocre white people on the planet.) Many of these foreign works are made by way less white people than your average American production, and I think this is one of the huge benefits they have. I say this because the same thing is true of works made here in America--"Do the Right Thing," "Children of Men," "The Square" (2013), "Fruitvale Station," "Moonlight," etc.--most of our more recent great movies have come from non-white people. (Even silly entertaining stuff like "Thor: Ragnarok" has a vibrancy and style that most of its peers in its genre are missing, likely due to the director and people in the movie crew.) Sure, a lot of white people made some great stuff here from the 20s-60s, but non-white people didn't have much of a chance to get into high-up positions. And when you look into a lot of the best works made by white people, especially collaborative works like movies, you often find there was one or a handful of non-white people who actually did most of the crucial work and then the white people in charge unconsciously or consciously took and received the credit for it. (This stuff still happens a lot today, sadly.) Somewhat similar to how you often find out a spouse of a famous man deserves way more credit than given for the success of their work (and that it should be referred to as their work since they both contributed to it), such as Elaine Bass, Marcia Lucas, et al. Also, just think of how much better a lot of that work from the 20s-60s would be if there had been more diverse creative teams working on them, and how much better works made by mostly white people today would be. (Hell, as much as I like the diverse cast and story group on the new "Star Wars" movies, I wish they'd gone with different directors. Would love to see a Janelle Monae or Alfonso Cuaron helmed "Star Wars" movie. Oh well.) Would also like to try to dispel the myth that foreign movies with subtitles are difficult to watch/get into and that it's only for "smart" people or some such nonsense. (Hopefully there are folks that read this thread that have seen few foreign movies before and now feel more interested/excited to do so.) I totally understand there is some percentage of people that either have visual or learning impairments that would make reading subtitles difficult or impossible. But a huge percentage of the American population can easily read subtitles. Characters in movies hardly ever speak more than 1-2 sentences at a time, and even more rarely do they use words that people would not have heard of/need to look up the definition of. Reading subtitles in foreign movies is nothing like reading a book, or even a comic strip--it's way simpler and to the point. I've had more difficulty trying to pronounce and understand the meaning of words I've come across on food menus than I ever have from a foreign movie. And I think most people, once they've watched 2-3 movies with subtitles, will start to notice they better understand the narrative/plot due to reading instead of just hearing the dialogue. I watch most movies where the dialogue is spoken in English with subtitles for exactly that reason, and find it to be a much more enjoyable experience. The one argument against subtitles I can understand a bit more is folks that want to take in the visuals as much as possible. I really don't find reading subtitles to be any different than just listening to the dialogue in terms of my ability to observe the visual details (either way your brain cannot 100% focus on the visuals--you're either reading the subtitles or instinctively parsing what is being said, and honestly I find reading 1-2 sentences a lot easier to do than processing the same spoken dialogue), but obviously when you're reading the subtitles your eyes are no longer taking in the whole image/paying as close attention to the details. My biggest counterargument against this position, as someone who really loves visuals, is that I find I am way more likely to rewatch/experience any media I really like visually at least one more time after my initial experience. And it's a lot easier to focus and observe visual details on a second viewing of any movie, subtitled or not. And the last myth/stereotype that seems to drive people away from experiencing foreign movies (and other media) is that they think the theaters that play them are more "fancy" than a standard wide release multiplex. Some people seem to think it's equivalent to going to a high-end restaurant where the food is all mega-expensive, people are snooty and dressed to the nines, etc. In my experience this is hardly ever the case or is blown out of proportion. Some theaters that show foreign and independent movies are older movie palaces and may have some nice decoration, but when it comes to the seats, screen, and audio they're often slightly worse or no better than a standard wide release multiplex. (A tradeoff that's easy to accept for the kinds of movies you get to see.) And many of them are just basic ass theaters. The audience is usually a smattering of people in their early 20s, a few more people in their late 20s/30s/early 40s, and some older people. Some of the middle-aged/older folks may be dressed nicely, but I've never been to a screening where everyone is--it sure as shit ain't required and I've never felt out of place dressing normally. And the worst misconception is pricing--tickets on average are much cheaper at theaters that show foreign and independent movies than at a wide release multiplex. Matinee showings at Landmark Theatres across the U.S. are $7, and evening/standard showings are $9. Independently-owned theaters that show foreign movies can be even slightly cheaper. Good luck finding tickets at a wide release multiplex that low, unless it's before noon on a specific weekday when they have a sale. I'd love if more folks from all types of backgrounds started seeing these movies. The tickets are cheaper than for a wide release multiplex movie, the movies are better, etc. Though I totally understand for some folks these theaters are too far away from where they live/work to regularly go to, which is a shame. Again, FilmStruck streaming, mom-and-pop rental stores and damn Netflix are your best options if that's the case. Anyway, most of that is tangential to the topic at hand and more regarding foreign movies in general. Don't mean to get the thread off-topic; just wanted to give a reply since I agree with you @Patrick R that I'd be nice for mid and low-tier quality Asian and other foreign movies to play here, too. (And like I said, based on all the info above I think mid and low-tier quality works from Asia and elsewhere would be better than ones made here, as well.) Some other movies I thought of: not sure if "The Act of Killing" counts (co-directed by Christine Cynn and shot in Indonesia)--that's another remarkable documentary. And when it comes to campy/not-great-but-also-the-greatest-because-of-how-not-great it is movies, "Hausu" is aces. (Though it's Criterion-approved, so surely doesn't fit the criteria of a lesser-known not-great work like you were talking about.) But yeah, "Hausu" is probably the most I've laughed during/enjoyed a not-great movie, since it's so hilariously bizarre and some of the techniques employed make such little sense. And I have not seen these yet, but I've owned the Blu-ray set for a few years now: "The Samurai Trilogy" movies by Hiroshi Inagaki, which are supposed to be good. (This is a good reminder that I need to watch those! They aren't even very long, just roughly an hour and a half each.) Also, glad to hear you liked "A Brighter Summer Day" @Woodfella! Always nice when one of those 4-9+ hour movies are compelling enough to make you excited to take breaks and see the whole thing. Nice to save those for a cozy Saturday or Sunday.
  7. Everyone deserves a pink elephant in their life: (I was once driving down a highway in the middle of nowhere and saw some place with a giant pink elephant sign that looked similar to the plush from "Darkman" and wanted to stop and take a photo but unfortunately couldn't easily maneuver my car to the entrance to the place to stop and do so. Also I saw "Drag Me To Hell" and "Up" on the same day when they came out which was a tonally bizarre experience.)
  8. The Asian Film Thread

    Lots of great recommendations already! Since you started off with Ozu, I'd highly recommend "Good Morning" and "An Autumn Afternoon." The former is his most lighthearted and entertaining movie (about two bratty but lovable kids pestering their parents for a television set so they can watch sumo wrestling), and it's my personal favorite. And "An Autumn Afternoon" is my second favorite of his late-period movies shot in color. One of Hirokazu Kore-eda's movies ("I Wish") has already been mentioned in the thread. Kore-eda is the closest we have to a modern-day Ozu, employing a lot of the same narrative and visual techniques. His movie "Still Walking" (2008) is the most Ozu-like and my absolute favorite of his. Of course Studio Ghibli is immensely popular, and for good reason. My two favorite movies from the studio are "Grave of the Fireflies" and "Only Yesterday," directed by Isao Takahata. Both are incredible, but "Only Yesterday" is the one that seems to be the most overlooked. About a woman in her late 20s who goes to work on a family member's farm to take a break from city life, the movie is filled with her thinking about various flashbulb memories from her childhood. It is perhaps the most gentle and affecting of Ghibli's entire output, and one of the greatest movies ever made. (I also really liked his recent "The Tale of Princess Kaguya," but more for its visuals than narrative.) Of the Miyazaki-helmed movies, which of course are all great, my favorites are "Porco Rosso," "Kiki's Delivery Service," "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind," "Spirited Away," and "My Neighbor Totoro." "Tokyo Godfathers," "Mind Game" (2004), "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time," "Summer Wars," "Akira," "Ghost in the Shell," etc. are all very good animated movies, as well. Kurosawa of course has been mentioned. He had a long career filled with many great movies--my absolute favorites are "High and Low" and "Ikiru." (Word of warning on the Criterion "High and Low" Blu-ray: the white typeface is a bit annoying for the first 15 minutes or so of the movie. It's an interior shot that is brightly lit and the subtitles kind of bleed into the background a bit more than they should. But this issue goes away once the movie transitions to another sequence and the subtitles are easy to read for the majority of the movie. You can definitely still read the text at the beginning, but it's the only time I remember ever having slight difficulty reading subtitles because of their color interacting poorly with the movie image itself--I think I had to pause a couple times to ensure I got everything. The movie is definitely damn good enough to warrant dealing with that minor annoyance at the very beginning, though.) Wong Kar-Wai has also already been mentioned. I see that Patrick is already familiar with his work, but for anyone that isn't I'd recommend starting with "Chungking Express"; it's his most entertaining movie. "In the Mood for Love" is great, but it is a purposefully slower-paced movie that rewards rewatching to fully grasp and might be a bit much for one's first foray into his work. On that note, Edward Yang similarly made great and purposefully slower-paced movies. I'd recommend starting with "Yi Yi," the easiest to get into (though it is 3 hours long). "A Brighter Summer Day" is his masterpiece, a sprawling work informed by personal experience. It's 4 hours long/a bigger commitment, though it's definitely worth it. One of the best documentaries I've ever seen is "Last Train Home" (2010), directed by Lixin Fan. It's about how millions upon millions of Chinese factory workers (often underage) live and sleep at the factories they work at (making jeans and other bric-a-brac for Americans to "enjoy"), working excessively to try to help themselves and/or their family financially. They all work at factories for most of the year and get one single break/vacation, when they all travel home for the Chinese New Year. The movie is filled with unforgettable imagery of the factory conditions, the mass exodus of all these incredibly hard-working people trying desperately to cram onto trains to get home for the one minor break they receive, and the tireless resolve of these workers to try to better their lives via a corrupt, denigrating, and uncaring system. Though it is obviously a deeply upsetting and harrowing movie, it is well worth watching, both to witness conditions many of us have never endured, but also to see the brief moments of hope and joy these people still exude. Though the economic system is utterly failing them and doing everything it can to deprive them of their basic living conditions, it can not *completely* take away their humanity. One can only hope one day this type of atrocious economic system is dismantled and replaced with a viable one, and that some form of reparation is given to these people, no matter how late and disproportionate it will be to what they've suffered through. I'm sure there's many more I'm failing to think of off the top of my head; I'll make another post after trying to remember all that I've seen. But of course as already evidenced by other suggestions folks have given in the thread, there are clearly many more great movies that fit this particular category for me to see. I think there is strong merit in having threads dedicated to moviemaking or creative works from specific regions, but maybe a general "foreign movies" thread would be welcome, as well? Thinking about the movies for this thread was yet another reminder of a fact I observed long ago: that creative works made outside of America on average are both of a higher quality and often more genuine in nature. Don't get me wrong, of course there are still many exemplary works that come from here, but I think many people from here, especially the more jingoistic among us, think that we excel at/are the best at everything, which couldn't be further from the truth. Foreign movies (and most other creative works/other endeavors done elsewhere) have long been on average better than ones produced here, and this disparity in quality only seems to increase as time goes on. (For example: there isn't any American movie made so far in this decade that holds a candle to "A Separation," in my opinion.) With all of the appalling information that has come out about aspects of the American movie production apparatus in the last few months, as well as the fact we're apparently going to allow one company to control the majority of it, I hope beyond hope that more people from here seek out more and more movies and other creative works made elsewhere. (Of course there is no doubt that atrocious individuals are involved in movies made elsewhere, as well--Bernardo Bertolucci and Lars von Trier are as reprehensible as Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, etc. But the overall higher quality and greater sincerity of the best works made elsewhere strongly indicate many of them are also made by nicer people, and I feel more comfortable supporting the best works made outside of America.) It is easier than ever to find out about and experience these works. Landmark Theatres (owned by Mark Cuban, who also owns the Mavericks and seems like an upstanding person, though I certainly don't claim to have done extensive research on him) is the largest chain that shows foreign movies here in America, and every major city also has at least one if not a handful of independently-owned theaters that show limited-release foreign movies. (Even many places with population sizes between 35,000-100,000 will have one theater in town that shows foreign movies.) Criterion and Masters of Cinema have brought a lot of the best foreign movies to home video and have both done mostly sterling HD restoration work for their Blu-ray releases. FilmStruck has a lot of the Criterion collection available to stream; you can try out a free two-week trial here--just make sure to select the middle option as that's the one that includes the Criterion catalog. (For those that care: the video quality of HD streaming on FilmStruck and also Netflix, Hulu, etc. is somewhere in-between that of DVD and Blu-ray. I did a comparison a couple years ago of a handful of Criterion movies I have on both DVD and Blu-ray to how they looked in HD streaming and the video quality was always better than the DVD but worse than the Blu-ray--like I said, pretty much directly in-between the two formats in terms of clarity/quality. For most movies I'd say streaming is definitely good enough--if you have the bandwidth to stream in HD--but if you can get access to the Blu-rays from a mom-and-pop rental store or Netflix, it will be a bit better.) Thanks for starting the thread @Patrick R and everyone else for their great suggestions. Will be checking in on this one regularly--looking forward to seeing more great movies!
  9. Haven't listened to the episode yet (won't be able to until tomorrow), but I'll take any excuse to link to this: (And if anyone's jonesing for some more Pavement, these are their two best songs in my opinion: "Unseen Power of the Picket Fence" and "Grounded." So god damn good--perfect tunes to relax to at work going into the weekend. Thanks for the reminder!)
  10. This conversation between Amy Hennig and Sean was a really good read. Wide-ranging and funny; I particularly liked the bits about "Chaos in the Windy City" and narrative/interactivity in games. Also: this might not be of any help to the dev team, but I thought folks would still enjoy looking at these great posters for silent movies that are in the public domain (made prior to 1923) regardless. I have no idea if a movie in the public domain means that additional material related to it (such as posters and other promotional material) are *also* in the public domain, but if so maybe they could be useful for the dev team. (Though the setting could very well preclude them from being able to be used even if they are part of the public domain, if it wouldn't make sense in terms of a movie theater being anywhere close to where the game takes place.) Anyway, like I said even if not useful still thought some folks on the forum would enjoy them! Gives a decent insight into the types of movies/genres that were being made in the late 1910s/early 20s, and of course a strong reminder that movie posters from the 20s-60s are generally of a much higher quality than contemporary ones. (Though to be fair I totally understand how posters could be viewed as less important in terms of promoting movies nowadays than they were in an era devoid of easy access to trailers, information, etc.--still a bummer that beautiful ones like these are mostly not being made for new movies, though. Fan made posters and Criterion/Masters of Cinema covers are the closest we have, for the most part.) Here's the posters: "Cabiria" (1914): poster 1, poster 2, poster 3, and poster 4. "The Phantom Carriage" (1921) poster. "Nanook of the North" (1922) poster. "Dr. Mabuse the Gambler" (1922) poster. And here's some for movies from the 20s post-1922. (So not in the public domain yet; movies from 1923 will be added January 1, 2019, and movies from 1924 will be added January 1, 2020, etc. Just figured folks would like looking at these since they are incredibly well-done, too.) "The Thief of Bagdad" (1924): poster 1, poster 2, and poster 3. "The General" (1926) poster. Fritz Lang's "Spies" (1928): poster 1, poster 2, and poster 3. "Woman in the Moon" (1929) poster. Those posters are all for silent movies that came to mind for various reasons after seeing the "In the Valley of Gods" trailer. They're not all good/great movies, but they all certainly have great posters. If anyone's interested in getting into silent movies and looking for suggestions on where to start, my humble recommendation would be to start with "Safety Last!," "Sherlock Jr.," "The Phantom Carriage," and "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari." Feel free to PM me if you want more suggestions beyond those (maybe I'll start an intro to silent movies thread in the movie forum if there isn't one already). Anyway, hope y'all enjoyed the posters and the transcribed "In the Valley of Gods" convo/article--have a great weekend!
  11. AGDQ 2018

    Only run I've had time to watch the archive of so far is "Sonic Mania," which was great. Claris is the best runner of the game with Sonic & Tails and she did a great job. Some really cool techniques, skips, and just non-stop speed. Of course you'd expect that with a classic-style 2D Sonic game, but as she and the announcers pointed out, the drop dash (a new move invented by the wonderful "Mania" dev team to give Sonic a unique ability since Tails and Knuckles have their own unique abilities) really makes "Mania" a better/even more enjoyable speedrun game than 1/2/CD/3K (though those are good speedrun games as well). I think "Mania" is one of the best 2D side scrolling speedrun games there is now. Really cool. Here's a timestamped link to the speedrun. Other runs I'm looking forward to catching the archive of when I have free time: "Splatoon 2," "Hollow Knight," "F-Zero GX," "Magical Pop'n" (such a great/cute game), "Mega Man X," "Dynamite Headdy" (which has the greatest pixel art and animation made thus far, along with "Demon's Crest," "Owlboy," and "Sonic Mania"--such incredible work), "Symphony of the Night," "Mario 3D World," "Wario Land 4," "Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga," "Yoshi's Island," "Mario Sunshine" (just to see how a great speedrunner deals with the camera/the most awful aspects of the game--though the secret levels are great/a precursor to a lot of design elements of the "Galaxy" games), "Star Fox 2" (just because it will be fascinating to see what a speedrun of this looks like), "Ori and the Blind Forest" (should be a fun race), "Owlboy," "Hyper Light Drifter," "Spelunky" (last GDQ run of this was great; little disappointed this isn't a hell run like that one was but is just Olmec, but still should be good), "Super Mario Galaxy," "Mega Man 1-3" relay race (this should be great--might be the highlight of the whole GDQ), "Kirby: Canvas Curse," "Tintin in Tibet" for GBC (never played this but it's based on one of the best Herge stories and I am aware that the music is really fucking good), "Super Mario World" (should be another great race) and "Breath of the Wild." Like always lots of good stuff--will take me a long time to catch the archives of all those! Hopefully none of the runners or announcers for any of those games and the entire event say/do anything egregious like has happened in years past. (Always hate when terrible stuff happens at an otherwise pretty good event, though they've seemingly done a good job with disciplinary action when it does.)
  12. Idle Thumbs Streams

    A song for @Nick Breckon and everyone who watched his stream to enjoy. Great stream; looking forward to more adventures in the future. Happy holidays everyone!
  13. [RELEASED] The World Begins With You

    A, H, and I are my favorites--they all look great, though! Wonderful work.
  14. [Release] Phaedrus 2010

    Really wonderful art, and the game sounds rad. Great work!
  15. Kentucky Route Zero

    In the same boat as some of y'all of not having played Act IV yet. I knew after III that I just wanted to wait and replay the whole game when it was all out. (Cool to hear IV has more replayability to it, though.) First three Acts were incredible; even if they don't stick the landing at the end of V I know I'll still wholeheartedly recommend the game to folks. I guess the Switch TV edition coming out sometime before summer means we won't have to wait too long for Act V. Hope those folks get a massive boost in press and people talking about the game when it's all out. They greatly deserve it.
  16. Ha, we'll have to agree to disagree on that one! I find the Herge "Tintin" comics it's adapted from to be significantly better (even with their major issues), especially the clear line art style versus how the movie looks. (The dialogue and action-adventure aspects are also much better, in my opinion.) Also personally not a big fan of Spielberg's thus far unsuccessful attempts to return to the type of subject matter he excelled at in the 80s/early 90s--he just hasn't been able to rekindle the magic of those entertaining action-adventure movies since 1993, which is totally understandable for many reasons. (I've enjoyed a lot of his other late-period work, though!) Never thought about it before, but interesting to consider if his adaptation of "Tintin" is better than "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"--obviously the source material is, but hell, I'd also concede that the movie slightly is. Kinda weird to have the ersatz adaptation of a work that many people mistakenly thought he was inspired by for his own popular rousing action-adventure movies be better than the fourth sequel in that series, but there's an argument to be made that is the case. Maybe against all odds Peter Jackson's "Tintin 2" (if it's ever made) will somehow be as good or better than its source material and all the Indy movies. Highly unlikely, but it's possible. (I'd love to be excited about a Jackson movie once again, too.) (Though it does seem fitting to talk about "Tintin" and Spielberg/"Indiana Jones" in this thread, I doubt the Thumbs folks want it to stray too far from their work. Of course feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about that! And feel free to PM me @TychoCelchuuu and anyone else if you wanna talk about "Tintin" and/or Spielberg more; always happy to chat about silly action-adventure stuff.) Regarding "In the Valley of Gods," I wonder if they have a specific date in the 1920s in mind, and where/how many silent movies would have played in Egypt at the time. If they wanted to they could potentially have some cool silent movie homages (all movies made prior to 1923 are now in the public domain). Definitely wouldn't want to go overboard with that stuff, though.
  17. "Shaun the Sheep Movie" from Aardman (the "Wallace & Gromit" folks) is a pretty good "silent" movie. (I put silent in scare quotes since unlike a genuine silent movie it has sounds from the environments the characters are in and the characters make expressive grunts/noises. But there is not a spoken word of dialogue in the movie.) The discussion about the animated Mario movie made me wish Nintendo had gone with Blue Sky Studios (if they were dead-set on going with a huge American animation studio and not a smaller foreign or independent one). Blue Sky doesn't have a great track record, either, but "The Peanuts Movie" from 2015 was pretty good, against all odds. It seems like the onus of not ruining Schulz's creation made the creative team that made it do their best work. It wasn't incredible or necessary by any means (there's 50 years of the strip--24 of those where it was of an incredibly high quality--plus the wonderful Melendez-helmed animated shorts and movies, after all), but it was good/entertaining. They probably could have given a similar treatment to Mario. (The "Wreck-It Ralph" creators also seem like a more natural fit, though I guess they're too busy with the sequel to that movie to have taken it on.) The dream scenario would be if they'd given it to the "A Town Called Panic"/"Ernest & Celestine" folks, and let them engage in the same wonderful freewheeling surreal madcap insanity that they do in "A Town Called Panic" with it. That could be pretty incredible. Ah well.
  18. Game looks great! Really cool characters, concept and setting. Using the movie-about-making-movies genre with a video game enabled the dev team to come up with the really neat feature of "making"/watching your own documentary. That's a unique, great feature that wouldn't be possible to do in any other medium--kudos to whoever came up with it. (Also get the sense the story will have more to do with the relationship between the two characters than the movie-about-making-movies aspect, which is great.) Presuming there will be dialog options to choose from between the two characters in-between the documentary-making segments. Will be interesting to see if there's any other systemic aspects other than those two, and how much variability there is with "making" the documentary. If there's enough variability to make it so the video outcome from the second playthrough looks sufficiently different than your first one, that'd be cool (in terms of making a second playthrough compelling and to make it interesting for people sharing and comparing their videos online). Imagine there can't be too much dramatic variability with it, though, which is understandable. I think those two systems, especially the unique documentary one, are more than enough for a first-person exploration game like this. Another cool aspect of "In the Valley of Gods" is it will very likely be the greatest Egyptian-themed visual narrative work made thus far. It's amazing to me that as much as the basic iconography (pyramids, hieroglyphics, mummies, etc.) of Egypt has permeated/sustained into modern culture, there really hasn't been a great visual narrative work set there. The best Egyptian-themed movies are "The Mummy" (1932), "Five Graves to Cairo," "The Prince of Egypt," and "The Ten Commandments" (1956). Those are all good--I like "Five Graves to Cairo" the most--but they all have fairly significant issues and I wouldn't consider any of them to be great. The best Egyptian-themed comic (that I'm aware of--there may be more) is "Cigars of the Pharaoh." That's an early Herge "Tintin" comic. It's pretty good/entertaining, but since it's early Herge--one of the first six "Tintin" stories he made--it has some pretty awful/unfortunate depictions of native people. Herge apologized for this aspect of his early work later in life, but it's still hard to look past it when viewing his earliest work. (If anyone's ever looking to get into "Tintin," start with "The Black Island," his seventh story featuring the character, and go from there. Of the first six stories only "Cigars of the Pharaoh" and "The Blue Lotus" are worth reading, and like I just said, while entertaining in the action-adventure sense both have some bad depictions of native people. And whatever you do don't waste your time on the middling Spielberg adaptation.) So yeah, I think "In the Valley of Gods" has a very strong shot of being better than any other Egyptian-themed visual narrative work that has been made so far, which is very cool. Maybe it'll inspire a renaissance in great works set there and in nearby places! Some people in this thread have discussed the art style/depiction of Zora; personally don't see any issues there. The art all looks great/incredibly well-done to me. (If the team feels like they need help in that department at any point, there are many great black artists they could inquire about doing contract or full-time work, such as Tiffany Ford, Shivana Sookdeo, Catt Small, K. L. Ricks, Alleanna Harris, Pearl Low, Olivia F., Laura Wilson, Vashti Harrison, Chelsea Charles, et al. I don't know much about 3D modeling, so couldn't give recommendations there, but surely there's many great black 3D modelers, as well.) Like everyone else greatly looking forward to the game! Easily my most anticipated game now. Take your time and best of luck with the rest of production.
  19. Looked up some more info about the very small team behind "Cuphead." They do have one black animator--he worked on it for two and a half years (joined the production six months in). Seems like a wonderful, rad person from this interview. Interesting to hear him talk about the creative freedom the co-founder brothers gave the animation/art team to pretty much come up with whatever designs they wanted, as well as his answer about them putting in an easy mode due to feedback. (And thumbs-up/hell yeah to him citing "Animaniacs" and "Freakazoid!" as being influences when he was young.) (Also interesting to note he created King Dice, did all the animation work for him, and wanted to "honor the black artists of the era" with the character.) Guessing the MDHR folks have seen the Unwinnable article and take the criticism seriously. With the recent news that they intend to always stick with hand-drawn 2D animation for their games and will likely do more "Cuphead" (either in the form of DLC or a sequel--wasn't specified which), perhaps they'll try to address it in some way and/or make sure to not employ any papered over tropes or motifs that were also featured in some of the most racist cartoons from the first half of the 20th century. Will be fascinating to see what their next game--whether it's "Cuphead 2" or something else--is like systemically. Like Chris said on the podcast, that element of the game is fine but not especially noteworthy--the visuals are the impetus to keep going and play all the way through. They seem well versed in NES/Master System/SNES/Genesis era games; maybe using the art style with some other gameplay genre would make for a better or more interesting combination.
  20. Strongly agree that it's a great article from an edifying perspective. I can see how the folks at Studio MDHR thought they were doing the right thing by removing and/or papering over the worst of the racial depictions from Fleischer and other cartoons from the first half of the 20th century, but also how the result of doing so could not sit well with folks. Also agree with @jennegatron about the two solutions the author presents to the problem within the piece. I think solution #1, of having black animators be the ones to create the caricatured depictions in an attempt to make audiences think about/contend with the terrible past, only works when the work is made by an all or majority black team. I don't know much about Studio MDHR--the credits for "Cuphead" list 14 people responsible for various aspects of the visuals in the game. They may very well have non-white people on their team, but the two white brothers are the only ones that have been visible in press events etc. to my knowledge. Even if they have one or more black people working on the art for the game, and even if the idea to include awful depictions in an attempt to face and deal with the past originated from them, I still think that is a bad idea/would not go over well, especially when two white guys are the public face of the game. "Cuphead" would have to of been made by an all or majority black art team in order for that to be remotely acceptable. Solution #2 is clearly the better and preferable choice, not only to #1 but also to what they went with in the game itself. Removing and/or papering over it is obviously easier to do (considering how much they are riffing off of/paying homage to characters and imagery from cartoons of the first half of the 20th century they sadly would have needed to come up with much more original designs than anything else that's in the game if they were to depict black characters in a positive way), and I assume when they made that choice they probably thought it was the best thing to do, as well. This article and the discussion around it clearly shows that isn't the case, but I don't fault Studio MDHR for the decisions they made. A third solution would be to have chosen an art style that doesn't have as terrible of a past when it comes to depictions of various people. Sadly for animation that wouldn't be possible for the first half of the 20th century--while there are certainly individual animated shorts from that era that are devoid of any terrible depictions, I don't think there's any one studio that didn't have at least a few shorts that did. The first black animators to work at a major animation studio are Floyd Norman for Disney in 1956, and Frank Braxton for Warner Brothers sometime in the late 50s. Not only is that past the era and art styles Studio MDHR was most interested in emulating, but obviously they still worked for companies that were majority white employees and had problematic pasts in terms of depictions of black characters and other people. Comics were very slightly better in this regard (emphasis on "very slightly"). George Herriman--the creator of one of the greatest comic strips ever made, "Krazy Kat"--was black, though apparently most people that came into contact with him did not know this was the case due to him having a lighter skin tone. There was also Jackie Ormes, who had various comic strips between 1937-1954, all of which portrayed black women in positive ways. They were both incredible artists and a movie or game emulating their art styles could look incredible, as well. That brings me to my ultimate point/takeaway from this article, though, which is that even solutions #2 and #3 still aren't great. Solution #2, of positively depicting black characters using an art style from the first half of the 20th century, still papers over the racist history of animation in the first half of the 20th century. And my third solution of avoiding the problem by emulating the art styles of black creators of the era seems great, but there would still be the part where it's being carried out by a team of presumably all or mostly white people. Like the article itself says, the animation, comics, and video game industries (and nearly all other industries) still have an issue with diversity wherein a lot of the work is being done by white people. This isn't to say white creators shouldn't tell stories that feature non-white characters--that is obviously preferable to us just perpetually making stories about ourselves. We should be constantly striving to learn more about, empathize, and positively depict people of all types and from all backgrounds. But I can't help but wonder if many studios, companies, and individuals are missing the forest for the trees when it comes to this. "Do the Right Thing," "Hoop Dreams," and "In the Heat of the Night" are three of the greatest movies ever made, all dealing with race relations in America. They're all of comparable quality, but I would always cite "Do the Right Thing" as being the most important of the three since it was directed by a black person, features a majority black cast, and had black people heading up most of the major departments in the movie crew. That isn't to diminish the quality of "Hoop Dreams" and "In the Heat of the Night"--they're both incredible and were made by great people with the best of intentions. But nothing is better or more authentic than when creative works focusing on non-white people are made by creative teams that consist of mostly non-white people. Or where at least the heads of the major departments/the folks making the biggest decisions are non-white. Too often I think studios and companies looking to make works that are more diverse do so without making the team that creates it as diverse as those depicted in the work itself. A lot of these studios/companies end up doing extensive research to try and get all the details right. Doing research/due diligence is always important, but when you see behind-the-scenes featurettes of mostly white people traveling to places and consulting non-white people to get the details right, I can't help but think "why didn't you hire more skilled non-white people to help make it instead or as well as doing that, people for whom getting the details right would have come more authentically?" (To be clear this is an issue that seems to plague American media studios/companies much more than works made elsewhere.) I'm not sure if that applies to Studio MDHR--they seem to have just wanted to make a standard run and gun game with the best elements of old cartoon aesthetics, while sidestepping this issue altogether. (Though I think it's more than fair to call out the terrible past of the art style they're using for folks that aren't aware about it and to be upset about the ways in which they papered over those negative depictions.) But in trying to think of ways to solve the issue of how to best portray non-white characters or use an art style that has a positive past in terms of representation/depiction or reclaim one that didn't, I think the best solution is to hire skilled non-white workers to make those depictions. White people can and should be working alongside them and helping realize the creation as well, but if the goal is for the work to be diverse and empathetic and focus on non-white people then studios/companies should do the right thing and put non-white people in charge of those projects.
  21. Women Directors

    The OP said to feel welcome to add your favorite women directors to the thread, @Henke, so any and all are welcome! I've got conflicted thoughts on Coppola's work but mostly like it. Haven't seen any directed by Bigelow yet, though. You're probably aware of this @Erkki but if not, and for anyone else reading the thread: Dee Rees's next movie, "Mudbound," comes out on Nov. 17th. Pretty strong early reception for it. The trailer makes it look harrowing but well worth seeing. Another one to keep an eye out for is Maysaloun Hamoud's "In Between," which starts playing on Nov. 10th. It's gotten good reviews, and the trailer makes it look humorous/very good. My local Landmark and other limited release theaters don't have it listed in their upcoming section yet, but hopefully it'll play at Landmark theaters across the U.S./other limited release theaters. (Highly likely it will.) Certainly seems like this is going to be a great fall/winter for movies!
  22. Spelunky!

    Hell yes! I wonder if there will somehow still be bees... Will be fascinating to see what the movement/game feel is like. Will folks that have put a ton of time into the first feel right at home or will they be changed due to the setting? (Though the "looking to the skies" dialogue and title card certainly seem to suggest it's taking place on the moon maybe it's just going to have a more lunar and/or sci-fi aesthetic. Ice caves already have a lot of that going on with the aliens, UFOs, Mothership, etc. Ice caves are so damn good aesthetically and sonically that if the whole game is going more in that direction that would likely be rad.) Also since Derek Yu and Andy Hull were clearly tuned into the strategies that players developed, the speedrunning community, stuff like the eggplant run, etc., you gotta heavily assume this game will have even more nested secrets than the first and additional items to further supplement the already existing repertoire. People are gonna have a field day once this releases trying to discover all the nested secrets/areas and figuring out how to best use any new items, etc. Should be a god damn good ass time.
  23. Women Directors

    Great idea for a thread! Hadn't heard of some of the directors/movies already mentioned--thanks for the edification. Strongly agree that Kelly Reichardt's work is amazing--"Certain Women" is one of the best movies of the decade so far for me, up there with "A Separation," "Ida," "Carol," "Moonlight," "Mud," "Monsieur Lazhar," etc. Here's a few great women directors whose work I've really enjoyed: Agnes Varda is one of the best directors of all-time. "Cleo from 5 to 7" is her most-known work, and indeed it is the best movie of the entire French New Wave era. "Vagabond" is incredible as well, and she's made a bunch of great documentaries throughout her career, too. Her most recent movie, which is currently playing in theaters, is a documentary called "Faces Places" that she co-directed with a young photographer named JR. It's one of the best movies released so far this year, and shows that Varda is as ebullient as ever at age 89. It's a wonderful movie, and she's a wonderful person. Lotte Reiniger is the greatest and most important animator in the history of the medium. "The Adventures of Prince Achmed" is the first surviving feature-length animated movie ever made (two preceded it that are unfortunately lost), and it is a remarkable and wonderful movie using a beautiful silhouette animation technique which Reiniger invented. Equally as important, she invented the first multiplane camera. A multiplane camera in animation basically achieves the same effect as parallax scrolling does in video games, so not only is her work monumentally important for animation but it also had an impact on other mediums such as video games. Sadly many people erroneously cite/think that the Walt Disney Company made the first feature-length animated movie ever made and invented the multiplane camera. Lotte Reiniger did both a full 10 years before Disney got around to it, and did so better. She is the progenitor of all feature-length animation. A remarkable person with a remarkable life and incredible life's work, anyone that likes animation should see "The Adventures of Prince Achmed." Gabriela Cowperthwaite's "Blackfish" is an edifying account of the awful and malicious practices carried out by higher-ups at SeaWorld to make their enterprise possible. It forces one to rethink the viability of any and all organizations that put animals in captivity for the enjoyment of humans to gawk at. I expect Cowperthwaite will make many more good documentaries for a long time to come. Penny Marshall's "A League of Their Own" is the greatest sports movie ever made. Like all sports movies it can be a bit corny at times, but the acting (and casting) is so wonderful across the board that it elevates even those moments. Based on a fascinating moment in real sports history when there was a women's equivalent to MLB, every time I watch it I can't help but wonder why there isn't one today. (There is a WNBA, after all.) I rewatched this movie endlessly as a kid and it never failed to put me in a bittersweet but euphoric mood. Revisiting it as an adult confirms that it's a genuine classic. Marshall also directed "Big," a very funny and entertaining movie that explores the paradox of a kid trapped in an adult's body. Considering most of us grapple with how to retain the best elements of being a kid (creativity, enthusiasm, etc.) while learning to embrace the emotional maturity, wisdom, and appropriate behavior of being an adult, its themes will be evergreen. Not to say they're analogous/similar directors, but like John Hughes I think Penny Marshall's work, especially the two movies named, will be overlooked by many "serious" cinephiles as being insignificant. With both directors I think not only is there more depth than seems on the surface, but both captured timeless moments in cinematic history. Again, great idea for a thread! There's still many more great women directors' work to cover/discuss, but I also hope this thread becomes a living document for any and all future great movies directed by women. Every time I see a great new movie directed by a woman, I'll do my best to remember to post about it here.
  24. Just watched the trailer for it. Some of the English voice acting seems a bit more humorous than probably intended (though in such a way it might actually add to the enjoyment of the game), but it sounds like some of the voice acting in other languages included is well done. Murder mystery definitely seems like a good fit for a "Sleep No More"/"Russian Ark" storytelling structure. Sounds like you just choose which suspects in the mansion to observe over the course of a couple hours and then at the end enter a choice of who you think committed the crime based on what you were able to notice--very cool! Between "The Sexy Brutale," "Rime," and now this, Tequila Works is quickly becoming a studio to pay attention to--some really cool ideas and visual styles. I don't have any of the VR headsets so unfortunately will never get to experience this firsthand, but it seems like maybe they could one day allow it to be played normally. Would definitely be interested in watching a playthrough of it in the meantime. Hopefully the GB folks take a look at it in their next VRodeo. Thanks for the heads-up!
  25. Thanks for all the info @clyde! (Apologies for not responding sooner; been busy with work.) I have no idea if the "Sleep No More"/"Russian Ark" storytelling structure (or a variant of it) would work for your Byzantine Empire game, but it does sound like something to ease/onboard players into the narrative would be great. Straight non-fiction/history can be difficult for some folks to get into, so trying to find ways to best present the material is super helpful. Lots of great documentaries, movie adaptations, books, etc. that have successfully done so. Don't think there's any surefire, simple way to make non-fiction compelling; seems to just be a combination of the material or an aspect of it inherently being so and the way in which it is presented being done well. "Waltz with Bashir" and "Grave of the Fireflies" long ago proved that visually stylized non-fiction can be just as incredible if not more so than live action footage or photorealism, so the same can certainly be done in video games. Best of luck with your project--sounds fascinating!