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Week 7 - Games & Valentimes

So, what I've been doing on this one? I've caught up with Project 2017 recordings: 5 6 and 7. I started the week with a manga swap, celebrated a relative's birthday with board games yesterday, and my dad's 74th birthday this Tuesday - which just so happens to be Valentine's Day! A hearty occasion always, though not so much time for Valentine.

Otherwise it's been work and games, mostly. Do you want facts? How about music? Here's some other stuff posted on the blog, as well as a new batch of six overdue reviews. I've been doing some bidding and buying too - more GB/C/A games, though seems that phase is just about played out now.

Remember Glimmerati? The trailer was pretty cool. The game? Not so... judging by gameplay footage. I haven't tried it myself - unlike buddy Bear I never owned an N-Gage, but just found out it was actually developed by Bugbear, the same dudes behind such legendary car games as Flat Out; always striving to take it further with their Next Car Game (which up until just recently was actually titled Next Car Game).

Interesting how our perceptions of good change with time, though some games seem to last forever. Like the original DOOM. I played out the Plutonia Experiment for maybe the first time ever without cheats this week, excluding a little idclipping when I lost my way. Decided to play it on Hurt Me Plenty in hopes I'd actually complete it, as previous attempts at trying it in Ultra Violence (as I easily play the originals) all failed.

These extra episodes really are gruelingly hard if you're not a seasoned vet - ready for all surprises they carry, and maybe they're a challenge even for those who are. It took plenty of trial and error to make it even with regular difficulty, and frequent use of GZDoom's highly appreciated autosave feature. But I did it! Pondering repeating the challenge with TNT next, or maybe Thy Flesh Consumed, both episodes I'm not sure I've ever played through in their entirety. At least not without cheats.

Last week? Here. That's about it. Day's short. Night's nigh. Times fly. I took a nostalgic speedrun through the first episode of DOOM yesterday, and hope to get through the second episode right after I post this... with a little upgrade enabled. Ciao for now; see you soon!

CDB Updates:

  • Fixed empty blog count on Stats page, after posts moved to sub-categories.
  • Updated episode count in anime sidebar after the yearly shift.
  • Updated selection on Poetry page, notes, etc.
  • Minor blog edits; fixes.

Musicalish #165

Have a listen.

(more…)

The Man From Nowhere (2010)

The Man From Nowhere (2010)

A little girl (So-mi, played by Sae-ron Kim) visits a pawnshop near her apartment sometimes. A young man lives there (Tae-sik, played by Bin Won). He doesn't say much. He lives alone. He treats her to food sometimes. The girl's mom isn't the best role model - she smuggles drugs, among other things, and one day she gets greedy. As a result both mother and daughter are kidnapped, thougth the mother shows up again soon. Dead.

It's not your typical revenge flick, with a bad-ass lone-wolf who beats down everyone in his way with ease. It takes a while. It doesn't come easy. It feels dark, and authentic, with action scenes that they initially skip, as the opponents are too weak - as if you're viewing the fight through the opponents of the man from nowhere. It gets fiercier and fiercer, and the dual against sadistic hitman Ramrowan (played by Thanayong Wongtrakul) is the real deal.

It's nothing out of this world, but it's genuinely good all the way through. The story might seem straight-forward at first, but it has its twists, and backstory to the characters that builds up overtime. And some details are complicated. Like how the hitman actually helps the girl, but makes Tae-sik believe she's dead. Is it to provoke him? To fight him? Out of loyalty for his employer? What's his purpose? It feels like characters are closer, and more believable that way, and you gain a sense of empathy even for the villains.

Similar movies come to mind, but this one still stands out as maybe the most streamlined movie of the sort. It grows nicely, reveals, intensifies, and ends. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Never Let Me Go (2010)

Never Let Me Go (2010)

What a sad movie. What a sad, sad movie. It's tale of three friends - a boy and two girls, in an alternate future where they're basically farmed for their organs.

They don't know this, at first, but as time goes on more is revealed. We watch them grow, and fall in love, and follow their feelings, and have their fleeting moments, and the world that surrounds them that's so normal and yet so... bizarre. In the end they look back at their lives, and reminisce, and remember, and pursue a hope even they probably know is only that. All the while I want them to run, and flee their fate - like they usually do in these kinds of movies, but I guess the action movies I usually watch with similarly twisted alternative sci-fi timelines aren't really like this. Whereas they focus on the action, this one focuses on emotion, and where any action hero would make a run for it - these are regular people, who may not embrace their futures, but cope, and learn to accept it. Maybe they were schooled too well.

It's not an unthinkable future, is it? Easy to say we'd never go so far, but we always seem to go further than we thought we would. Then we look back and realize what we've done. With the world. With ourselves. The world might look ideal, but it's all but, and surely it's an intentional contrast in this movie. The operations. The slow deaths.

It's all beautifully filmed, and enacted - the adults by Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley, but at the same time it feels empty, like entropy. It's one of those movies that leave a lasting impression, but not one I'm happy to have. Some leave a mark, some leave a scar - and this was definitely the latter.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

The Omega Man (1971)

The Omega Man (1971)

It's another take on The Last Man on Earth (1964), though now the vampires are a cult of regular humans, who reject the ways of the new (which led to the fall of civilization) and refuse to use modern weapons. Charlton Heston plays the last man on Earth in this one - as the former army doctor Robert Neville (it was Robert Morgan in the previous), until one day he finds a living, breathing girl - who's not part of the cult, and takes her back to his place. It's the seventies now, so you know that's bound to go a little different than it did last time.

Charlton Heston is a way better actor than Vincent Price was in the last movie, though of course our perceptions of 'good' change with time. He's not only more modern though, but much more macho, and charismatic. Like an old, white version of Will Smith. The similarities between this movie and the newer I Am Legend are much more notable too, not to mention the world's in color now, and instead of stakes the last man drives around with machine guns, and shoots at whomever he sees. Unlike his predecessor he lives in a top-floor apartment, plays chess against a statue of Napoleon, enjoys fine drinks, and tries to shut out the nighttime noise of the cult who thrashes about outside his window and seeks to kill him. The sense of paranoia and loneliness is closer here, and you'll find plenty of elements used in the newer version, like the mannequins, and the fast cars. No dog, though.

Eventually, he meets up with a group of survivors too, and talk of a cure comes about. The action's a bit more frantic than last time, there's a couple intimate moments, a little humor, a little desperacy - it's grimy and trashy and the city seems considerably more abandoned than it did in the last. In just seven years it seems a whole lot has improved, and changed, and the most notable news is it's now in full color. Of that grimy, saturated type that the seventies are remembered by, and most of it filmed in the gritty inner-city, which is surprisingly empty considering the vocation of location.

The twists aren't all that unexpected, and the cult's attempts to tackle Robert still seem somewhat tame, but it did have a ferocious finale in somewhat Scarface-like style. With the water, I mean. Somewhat similar. These movies never end happily, do they?

The blood may be a bit too punk, the actors not all that engaging (the Cult especially), and the camera bounces around a bit much sometimes, but everything else is great. You don't watch a movie like this for realism, but for the grit, and that Gung-ho style the seventies came with, and movie stars like Heston that really fit the role. Fresh blood. It's definitely the best version yet.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Sanjuro (1962)

Sanjuro (1962)

Sanjuro: one of Akira Kurosawa's legendary swordsman masterpieces from the sixties - also a ronin, a samurai without home, who ends up in the middle of a war between clans, and helps the side he stumbles upon first. Fortunately, it just so happens to be the right side.

This, Seven Samurai and Yojimbo (which this one has certain similarities with - and might be considred a prequel to) are maybe the three movies Akira's most known for, and no matter how outdated it is, it still holds. The filming may be basic, but the acting's good, and it's stood the test of time tenaciously. It's a glimpse not into only an exotic culture (unless maybe you happen to be of this culture), but also into a strange time, where everything was expressive, intrigue heavy, and characters both conveying and candid. Maybe it's really not that different now, though scenery and clothing certainly is, and fortunately most people no longer wield their swords in public.

ToshirĂ´ Mifune plays Sanjuro, and makes a lasting impression as such. Always vigilant, even if he carries a certain carelessness with him, there's always an air of both tension, as well as humor surrounding him. It's strange how well the tension and humor combines, and how some of the most serious moments somehow seem more objective when he's around them. The story flows well, and isn't as obvious as you might expect from a movie of the time. The action's quick and nimble. The character's fit their roles. The black teeth are an interesting detail (apparently it was trendy back then - among women of the court), the camellia's interestingly enough fake (though the leafs were real - replaced every day while filming as to remain 'fresh'), and if you're looking for other fun facts you'd best visit the IMDB page for a few more. Movies with a history - a story with a story, is always more intriguing somehow.

Overall: it's a classy action flick from a past time! Though if you expect ferocious fights and flashy back flips, look elsewhere. This is authenticity at it's finest, and friendliest. A tale well-told, with strong characters, well-scraped script and a story that goes as it should, but not always the obvious route. Even the surprises are senseful though, and don't feel added just for the element of. It's a classic, with commendable narrative, character and culture. Well done.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle
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