I got bored with Transistor pretty quickly, and I wasn’t feeling up to continuing my Dishonored game, so I was going to try Bioshock Infinite, despite not having finished the first one (or started the second). I just decided to hit youtube to figure out what happened, and after about 30 minutes of catching up, I find out that Infinite isn’t tied to the events of the first two at all. So that kinda pissed me off, and I decided to try out Rocket League instead.
It’s soccer with rocket cars, and it is stupidly fun. I’ve basically done nothing else for almost two days. Though its a totally different game, it reminds me of whatever version of Unreal it was when I played InstaGib CTF over and over again. Because the game is simple, relatively short, action packed, and I am constantly thinking “ok just one more game” and then I keep right on playing.
My only complaints thus far: I had to change my steam display name because I’m weirdly uncomfortable using my first initial and last name on a multiplayer server, and I cant express a preference for the orange team (for which I can have my car sorta resemble the ramblin’ wreck) over the blue team (for which it has to be blue or blue-ish).
Whiplash technically stars Miles Teller (and his entirely punchable face, I gather this is how he landed the Reed Richards role) as a drumming student in a cutthroat jazz band, but J.K. Simmons steals the show as a tremendous asshole band director. It’s not even in a funny way, he’s just horrible, and it’s great. Slightly reminiscent of my own sometimes dickish band director in high school (but fortunately he was not nearly this consistently awful).
Supergirl‘s Melissa Benoist is the love interest, and as usual she’s way hotter as a brunette (though she’s only in this for like 5 minutes). And Paul Reiser, apparently not dead, is Teller’s father.
There are a couple fuckups as far as matching the video to audio. Mostly showing trumpets with no mutes in them while we hear muted trumpets. But I guess they shot this in only 19 days, so there are fewer mistakes than you might think. Teller has been a drummer for a decade, so that helps a lot.
It’s a very good movie. Simmons totally deserved his Oscar, my only real complaint about the movie is that I think it ultimately endorses being a dick. But disagreeing with the theme doesn’t detract from what is mostly an excellent film.
Public Morals is a new period/crime/cop show on TNT created by and starring Edward Burns, with Michael Rappaport, Katrina Bowden, Tim Hutton, T-Bag from Prison Break, the original captain guy from >Castle,
The story follows the vice squad in New York (I think. They play Dirty Water over one scene which is the most Boston song ever, but it closes with a song about New York, so… ?). It’s set sometime in the 60s, but that seems very vague. I’d have thought they’d have picked a year and gone with music and fashion and world events from that year, like how Mad Men did it, but instead it seems like “60s” with no specific anything.
There’s a lot of cop/mob cliches… big Irish family full of both cops and mobsters, the cops are corrupt but not in an evil way this is just how they keep crime in check, the new guy on the squad who they’re not sure will play ball, he’s partnered with the grumpy old timer, etc. It’s a really white-guy-centric show. There’s one black cop who doesn’t get a lot of screen time, and the women in the show are wives and hookers.
Katrina Bowden is still hot, and Edward Burns’ characters wife is also easy on the eyes. That’s about all the positive I got from it. This probably works out best, since Tuesday will be very crowded towards the end of this show’s season.
Foxcatcher is that movie where Steve Carell plays a creepy millionaire wrestling enthusiast/murderer. Carell is good, but I’d forgotten C-Tates plays one of the wrestlers, and I don’t like him a bit as a dramatic actor. It also reminds me of Drive in that here are huge pauses between lines of dialogue. “Hi” [5 seconds] “Hey.” I got bored about halfway through and quit, just reading the wikipedia articles for the Du Pont guy and the C-Tates wrestler and his brother Mark Ruffalo.
Lucy uses that whole “we only use 10% of our brains” bullshit to give Scarlet Johansson ridiculous superpowers when she unlocks the other 90%. If only my brain was firing on all cylinders, I could change my hair style and color at will! The faux-science part is pretty awful, and the style of the movie is frequently annoying (lots of effects (visual and sound) and cutaways to other footage during exposition to try to keep things “interesting” but I always find that irritating). I also kinda don’t like the idea that unlocking this brain stuff also makes her an emotionless robot. By about halfway through she’s more powerful than Superman, but fighting common street thugs, and we’re supposed to think they pose any kind of challenge to her at all? And in the end it gets weird in a less-intellectual-2001 sort of way.
It’s not totally bad, she’s hot, and a few of the action scenes are cool, but that’s about it.
Grim Fandango Remastered basically just updates the graphics and adds a mouse interface to the original. Which was already pretty great, though the graphics/interface updates were nice. But it was good to not mess with it too much. Could have used an auto-save feature, though. You play Manny Calavera, a Grim Reaper/Sales Agent in the Land of the Dead in an adventure game that mixes Mexican folklore and film noir.
It was fun to replay, though some of the puzzles in it are really, really hard. I wonder if half-remembering them turned out to be a hindrance? I would be like “aha! there’s the thing I need to do this other thing!” but forget the other 5 steps I needed to do first. So instead of being open to a variety of items and locations and possible solutions, I was zeroing in on a specific thing that I wasn’t ready for yet.
Horrible Bosses 2 is the sequel to a movie that I thought was pretty ok, but making a sequel seems pretty unnecessary. And from the trailers it looked underwhelming. Sudeikis, Bateman, and Day return from the first one, but this time they’re pissed off at Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz. Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Spacey reprise their roles from the first one (and maybe the third boss too but I don’t even remember who that was), as does Jamie Foxx. It’s… ehhh. A laugh or two, but about as mediocre as I’d expected.
Fear the Walking Dead is the unnecessary but somewhat expected spinoff to the not-that-good but wildly popular zombie series. As a spinoff (of sorts, the only thing it has in common with it parent show is zombies), and it is basically the worst of The Walking Dead with none of the strong points.
The main series works best when the plot is moving swiftly. The dialogue isn’t great, the characters are only ok, the acting is fairly iffy, but when the story is moving along, things are pretty good (when they sat on the farm for like an entire season and nothing happened, things were bad). Here, things move very slowly. The characters in the 90 minute pilot didn’t know there was a zombie outbreak until right at the end. Most of the main characters are pretty underwhelming, and the one who I hated right off the bat didn’t manage to die in the pilot.
Sunday is, at least for now, a busy night, so at least this frees up an hour.
Blunt Talk is a new Starz series starring Patrick Stewart as a Piers Morgan type TV host with an alcohol and drug (and prostitute) problem. Joining Stewart are the captain from that Yahoo show from Paul Feig, Romany Malco, Richard Lewis, that lady I always think is Sally Struthers but isn’t, and a Brent Spiner cameo. It’s created by Jonathan Ames, who did Bored to Death which I found very funny in an unusual way, so I thought that was a promising combination of talent.
Blunt Talk takes a while to get going, but towards the end of the pilot it’s pretty good. I’d been sort of worried because Patrick Stewart often kinda ruins comedy by trying too hard to be funny. He’s at his funniest when he’s given funny material and plays it straight, but he rarely does so. Fortunately, here he does manage to take his character pretty seriously, even as he’s doing ridiculous things.
Get On Up is the James Brown biopic starring future Black Panther Chadwick Boseman. It’s pretty ok. It has a kickass soundtrack, at least. It jumps around in time way too much. If I had to guess his ages in order it goes something like 35, 55, 30, 5, 25, 6, 26, 27, 17, 20, 7. And that’s just the first 45 minutes or so.
I think the musical biopic format fucks up a lot. They’re more interested in catching all the hit songs and throwing in some childhood trauma than telling a cohesive story. I’d have focused on the development of funk (which got half a scene and a mention at a press conference), his movement toward socially conscious music (which got one scene), and his insane later years full of drugs and alcohol and arrests (which got two scenes… or really one scene split it two).
It’s basically fine as a series of random scenes from the dude’s life with a cool soundtrack. But as a whole story it doesn’t make a lot of sense.