Phaedrus' Street Crew
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Posts posted by Roderick

  1. The Polygon article seems to think it's a fantastic game, but is so disappointed about the missed opportunity of actually saying something meaningful with its story, that it heavily berates it. I'd say that's a fair judgment. I'm still interested in playing Far Cry 5, but I was hoping they wouldn't pull their punches.

  2. 3 hours ago, Henke said:

    Batman left me cold.




    What an article though. It is invariably saddening to hear how studios are mismanaged and collapse. The Games Industry, ladies and gentlemen. On the other hand, if this pushes the most creative people into the indie sphere to make truly interesting things... we all benefit in the end.

  3. Perhaps it would be useful, especially in the realm of movies, to move hard sci-fi from 'plausible future technology' to 'an emphasis on technology', and its ramifications. To be fair, in literature that is the basic definition of science fiction in the first place, but what we see in movies so often is that space is just a backdrop for a story to take place. In that sense, the soft/hard discussion could become more relevant if we make the above distinction. Does a movie rely heavily on technology, no matter how improbable, as the motor of the story? Then it's hard or 'true' scifi. (Anything from Gravity and Ex Machina to Inception and Interstellar would fall under it. Star Trek too, since it consistently explores themes of technology and how it impacts and changes the way people live). Are the stars just a backdrop to tell a cool story, especially one that doesn't seem very concerned with the future of the human race? Then it's soft sci-fi. (This would incorporate any 'fantasy' sci-fi like Star Wars, and most Marvel movies).

  4. In the absence of MORE GOOD PLACE, I started watching Brooklyn 99, Michael Shur's previous show. It's very funny, but it's also interesting to see how much more restrained and more specific The Good Place feels. Brooklyn 99 is a pretty by the numbers cop comedy show, lifted up by all-round great performances. But I rarely feel like I'm watching something with an identity of its own. Going from that to TGP is a massive leap for Shur for sure.

  5. I played around with Nintendo Labo today. It's a very cool concept and possibly mind-blowing, though I think that is much more true if you're no older than twelve. It's part building toy, part toy-toy, part programming tool and has a lot of functions and hooks. For Switch-owning families this might be the best thing this year. For adult gamers without kids, the novelty might wear off after two sessions.


    Unless you love:

    - Arts and crafts and creating hilarious elephant racers.

    - Tamagotchi! There's a surprisingly awesome Tamagotchi game in the 'house' Toy-con.

    - Noodling around on a piano. Seriously, the piano is awesome and has some surprising customizability.


    The big robot backpack is super cool to wear and stomp around in, but the game isn't all that great and doesn't feel intuitive enough. If you have to go for one of the two packs, definitely get the 'mix' pack with the plethora of games.



  6. As far as the redemptive aspects of the characters in 3 Billboards go... I don't think they were redeemed that much at all. At the end of the movie, I certainly wasn't rooting for Dixon or Mildred. I was fascinated by them and felt I had a grip on how flawed they both were, but did I think they had suddenly become good or wholesome? Hell no. After all,


    they're literally driving over to some schmuck to kill  him, an action neither of them are sure they really want, but they seem whipped up by the need to

    do something, something horrible, just to wash away the shit in their lives. Mildred's ex's girlfriend spells out the moral lesson near the end: 'anger only begets more anger' (or maybe it was hatred), but both clearly haven't internalized that at all. They've both done really shitty things over the course of the film, been firmly rebuked for them, and didn't change. These are not heroes by any measure. These are explicitly flawed and horrible people that the movie is rightfully interested in: what's going on with them? Even Willoughby's heartwrenching letters do little to soften them, in that sense he was too kind for this world after all. 3 Billboards doesn't glorify any of its central characters - okay, only Willoughby.

    I hesitate to use its possibly problematic view on racism (which I couldn't really judge how bad it is, I just am not informed enough) as a stick to hit the movie over the head with, when it has so many interesting characters to follow and considering how well crafted it all is. You are of course free to disagree! I loved seeing this, though.

  7. Three Billboards: what a delight. Loved how the film makes no excuses for the characters but shows, with warmth and sympathy, their good and their harsh sides. The constant upending of my expectation of where a scene would go meant that I was always in a state of bemused attention.

    Notably when Willoughby, in the midst of an interrogation, spits blood and the scene ends on such a tender note; him apologetic and her concerned, their fight not seeming as important as before. Or when Mildred's ex turns violent (with an excellent table flip, by the way), and it ends with them connecting again.

  8. To me, a musical needs to have a sort of rousing quality. Exploring a story in song rather than lines of dialogue means you can delve into character's inner psyches, their wants and desires, in a much more direct and possibly potent way. So, above all else, the songs need to be a great. And, I'll admit, I have gotten used to a certain musical sound that, for me, just works. The works of Alan Menken, Tim Rice, etc. For The Greatest Showman to try to update that to modern music was a big gamble, one that I certainly don't think worked out.


    If the movie had had great songs, I would've forgiven it almost anything. Now there was nothing to cover up all the other parts where it failed. The boring story that doesn't take enough chances, for one. I've pushed most of the plot out of my head again, as uninteresting as it was, but I recall thinking that it would've been ballsy if Barnum had actually cheated on his wife, and how he dealt with that. Also, the simplicity of having a team of freaks (and one spectacularly beautiful woman whose deformity was that she was spectacularly beautiful, I guess?) being all pretty OK people, going up against random angry hoodlums in the street just didn't cut it.

  9. Well, this is what I hear from a lot of friends, but is it that surprising? The Great Showman sucks. It has horrible songs that all sound to me like they came straight out of Getty Music. The story is unnervingly saccharine and never probes the depths of the characters or the interesting angles in the setting. I was facepalming constantly in the cinema. I had a horrible time.

  10. I was hoping Captain Toad would appear! It was the final game I wanted to get for Wii U, but now I'm deffo holding out for Switch. As far as Wii U exclusives go, Tokyo Mirage Sessions is indeed The Premium Game to get, and don't forget the AMAZING Kirby And The Raindbow Paintbrush.


    The Dark Souls amiibo is just splendid, and I am THRILLED that there's Splatoon 2 singeplayer content coming. That'll be the first DLC I buy for a game on Switch, and no, I wasn't even that interested in the Zelda DLC. More Splatoon is irresistible.


    I never liked Smash, so the announcement did nothing for me, but there's a huge contingent of super fans out there for whom this is godly news.

  11. Alright, Ben, let's do this!!


    The first time I saw Bi-week of Ultron (and my memories I'll have to partially scoop up from my review, because I forget everything), I was dazzled and annoyed by the sheer chaos on screen. I remember watching the Hulk/Iron Man fight and thinking: 'This is so noisy and tedious!'. There were also expectations at play. I had hoped for a much deeper analysis of Ultron and how AI would rise up and become a creepy puppet master and unshackle himself.


    Now, upon rewatching, I found there was a.) more to it than I initially saw. Especially in hindsight with Civil War making a huge deal of the Sokovia climax and its ramifications. b.) I also enjoyed the character of Ultron more, how he evolves throughout the film and tries to become godlike by upgrading himself. If you strip away all the mindless action scenes, the world-building is actually quite good and it's fun to trace how Iron Man is degenerating. AGAIN, with much thanks to Civil War, which shows us his end-state, therefore making me appreciate this intermediate step better.


    Neither should I neglect to consider that my own state of mind is an important factor. Ultron arrived exactly during the first, heaviest onslaught of Marvel fatigue. I was, frankly, momentarily sick of this kind of movie, that offered high visual satisfaction but low cerebral pleasure. After a while I recalibrated my expectations for the MCU and at that point I was able to reappraise the film. It was followed by other forgettable films (very unlike the current high watermark of GotG and Spider-Man Homecoming), so in retrospect I concluded that Ultron wasn't as bad as I thought.


    Are you satisfied, man?!



  12. Ben: Well, when I first saw Fortnight of Ultron I thought it was loud, obnoxious, overfed. Gave me a headache in the cinema. So I wasn't too positive about it (in fact, here's what I wrote about it at the time:


    A few years later I rewatched it on Netflix, on a smaller screen, and I thought it held up better. Nowadays I enjoy it quite a lot. (Though I still stand by my fears that Avengers: Infinity War will turn out to be another ensemble nightmare of heroes whizzing by and clashing styles and tones. I can't even begin to imagine how the Guardians of the Galaxy are going to play out with Iron Man and Captain America. Are they going to do one action scene set to a 90s pop classic, and then back to Thanos wrecking the world in slow motion?

  13. Iron Man 3 totally grew on me, and it has a surprisingly heartwarming act 2 scene with the kid.


    Black Panther was fine. It was fine. I can understand it if people adore this movie, especially if this is special to them because of the slavery/African-American themes coming to the foreground. It wasn't for me, so I saw a perfectly acceptable Marvel film in the cinema, it was fine, it was instantly forgettable, I'm glad I saw it.


    Was it me, or did Andy Serkis' character really lose his mind in between movies? In Week of Ultron (refuse to call it Age) he was basically a sane resource robber in a stranded oil tanker, now he's giggling and doing a cool Joker thing.

  14. Luigi is great as a sniper, but I had Rabbid Luigi in my team most of the time. His vampire slides make him an unstoppable wrecking ball. I never saw much use for the later characters you get, and by that time I had such a well-oiled killing machine I didn't bother to investigate other combos. Rabbid Mario can be useful to lure people in, but beyond that...