The Killing Joke is DC’s latest direct-to-video animated movie, this one (partly) an adaptation of the Alan Moore/Brian Bolland classic. It’s derailed by a really pointless addition focusing on Batgirl, and is ultimately pretty dumb, despite bringing back the classic animated series cast.
I’d heard about the addition, and I’d assumed it was to offset the fact that in the original, Barbara’s role is to answer the door and get shot, which is a pretty dumb waste of one of the handful of most important characters in Batman’s corner of the DC universe. But instead of doing it to give her some time in the spotlight and give her a heroic moment, she… screws up a lot, and because Batman treats her like garbage, she fucks him on a rooftop. I have absolutely no idea what the point of any of that was.
Some of the things from the comic were cool to see animated, but that’s about it.
Vice Principals is HBO’s new comedy from Danny McBride. I couldn’t get in to Eastbound and Down and I have the same problem here. Not funny to me at all. I gave it a second episode to be sure. Nothing. Walton Goggins plays an interesting character, but he’s also not funny. They just get really angry at each other, and really angry at other people. And I guess that’s supposed to be funny, but I don’t get it.
Star Trek: Beyond is the latest in the “NuTrek” film series, and it’s more like the first one than the second, but seems to cement the film series as devoid of any attempt at more than an action series. The action is good, though, and the Enterprise crew is much better served here than in the second movie, where it seemed singularly focused on Kirk and Spock. Karl Urban’s Bones didn’t get nearly enough to do in that one, but he’s back to a major role here. But it’s ultimately pointless, which is a little bit of a let down. I think the only meaning you can get out of this is “peace is good.” So… not what I want from Star Trek, exactly, but a perfectly good action movie.
Meanwhile, I have my hopes up for this Trek series headed for CBS’s crappy version of netflix/hulu.
Random aside: know what I miss? Sequels with numbers. I honestly can’t remember the subtitle of the Khanberbatch movie, but I want to call it NuTrek II or something. It has no number in it’s title, nor does this movie, nor does, it seems, any movie franchise other than the infinite series of x Fast x Furuious. I can’t remember some of the original cast movies’ subtitles, but when I say Star Trek IV, you know I mean the one about whales.
Ghostbusters isn’t very good. It’s not like offensively bad, it’s just not as funny as it ought to be. The tall guy from Silicon Valley and Kate McKinnon have the only jokes that really land in the whole movie (at least, I think, I actually dozed off for part of it). The story was fine, effects were generally good, and one of the action scenes was actually pretty good. Kate McKinnon was easily the best part, but Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy had the bulk of the story, so there was a lot of not-funny stuff. Still glad I saw it, because… screw all those people that were so angry about it. Worse movies come out every week.
Stranger Things is Netflix’s new series which is Super 8-ish in its deliberate 80s/Spielberg type movie nostalgia, but with some horror thrown in. More E.T. than anything else, it has sinister government agents, a group of kids running off unsupervised to have adventures, and a Drew Barrymoore-ish little sister, but there’s also spookys tuff, 80s music (Toto, Modern English, the Bangles), weird hair, and really cool retro credits.
It’s pretty good. I was worried this was going to cost me 13 hours, but luckily it’s only 8. I think most of the appeal is nostalgia, but I’m at least interested to see where it’s going.
Winona Ryder plays one of the moms, the Samaritan blonde from PoI is another one, Matthew Modine is one of the government people, other Newsroom anchor guy is the sheriff, and being filmed in Georgia, I think local news personality Brenda Wood got all 80s-ed up to play a newscaster.
The Night Of is HBO’s new miniseries that seems like it will follow one crime from the night of its commission through investigation and trial and whatnot. The first episode was fairly straightforward, but for some reason I found it incredibly engaging. Normally, when someone finds themselves at a crime scene and panics you think “oh god what are you doing you idiot!” but here I think “oh god I would do stupid shit just like that.” So something they were doing made me identify with the guy, or it was in some way interesting that I can’t place my finger on. Regardless, I enjoyed the pilot quite a bit, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.
It’s mostly devoid of famous people through the first episode, except for John Turturro as the accused guy’s lawyer. Jeremiah from Royal Pains has a mustache for his role as a cop, which is kinda hilarious.
Kill the Messenger is based on the story of Gary Webb, a journalist who published stories on the CIA’s connection to the crack epidemic, then saw his career fall apart. There were accusations of investigative and editorial failures, but the movie argues that the CIA used big newspapers (he worked for the San Jose Mercury News) to discredit him to hide their own mistakes.
Jeremy Renner plays Webb, Rosemarie DeWitt his wife, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Oliver Platt his editors. A variety of notable people also appear, Paz Vega, Robert Patrick, Michael Sheen, Barry Pepper, Andy Garcia, Omar from The Wire, Tim Black Nelson, and Richard Schiff.
It’s a relatively interesting story, but I probably could have picked it up better reading wikipedia than spending two hours watching the movie.
Predestination is an Ethan Hawke movie I’d heard about a while ago, on a list of things like Primer, Timecrimes, and other weird timeline things. It’s not as mind-blowing or complex as Primer, but it is damn clever. Besides cleverness (and good set design), there’s not a lot to like. So it has zero rewatch value. And discussing the plot much would ruin the good parts (IMO it has zero rewatch value). But it’s pretty good. Though it’s based on a Heinlein story, “All You Zombies,” which I guess if you know that, the surprises are all (except for maybe one) covered there.
South Park: The Stick of Truth (currently on sale for $7.50) seems to have a shitty combat system that I’m going to hate, but based on the first hour, everything else about it is pretty great. The graphics perfectly replicate the show, it’s filled with references to the series, and some quality jokes some of which are based on gaming expectations.
One of the first things you can do is take a dump, You’re prmompted to mash the S key to poop, and if you don’t hit it enough, you fail to poop. But if you succeed, you can loot the toilet for a shit nugget. I haven’t actually picked it up, because… it’s a shit nugget. But still funny. Also, you’re prompted to type in your name, and I’m thinking this is pointless since every character is voiced, so they won’t be able to call me by name anyway. But after I type my name in, Cartman says “you have entered ‘Douchebag’, is that correct?” and then you have a yes/no prompt, and when you answer no he still goes ahead and calls you Douchebag for the rest of the game.
So… I think if you enjoy the show, you’ll enjoy at least the non-combat parts of the game. I’m thinking about putting on easy just to speed through the fights. But for $7.50, it’s already given me as many laughs as a lot of comedy movies, so I’m happy.
I’m going to end up playing some more Civilization: Beyond Earth, then move on to the recent-ish Shadowrun games, then that might be it for steam sale games I’m hustling to get through in the return window. I also picked up Borderlands 2, Telltale’s Michonne miniseries, and the Bioshock Infinite DLC pack, but I think those are safe bets.
It was only after starting to play Civilization: Beyond Earth that I realized the folly in trying to check out the game in the two hour return policy window. It’s basically a mod of Civ V to make it about Earth colonists settling on a new world, with a new tech tree, new culture/civics system, and new, more complicated victory conditions. It ended up taking 12 hours (including a fair amount of being paused while I took care of other stuff) to finish a game.
It’s a little odd playing a Civ game and having no idea what any of the technologies or units do. But it’s also kind of fun. The combat is pretty similar, culture is pretty similar. But there’s this whole quest system that gives you a lot more flexibility about how your buildings work, and also makes the non-combat victory conditions… on the one hand more broad, it requires you do a lot of different things to trigger the victory, but on the other hand, to a novice, kind of annoying, because you have no idea how to prepare for the next step. Like you’re researching the tech you need, and you could be building stuff to help with the next step, but it doesn’t tell you what the next step is.
My one major complaint? No graphs at the end. It’s “just one more turn” or “exit to main menu.” What’s up with that?
One thing I failed to consider in this Steam sale is that they’re not having daily specials like they used to. So after returning Torchlight 1 and 2 (and selling the stupid trading cards I’m constantly getting), I have $8 in credit and I feel like I ought to spend it on something. Thinking about Shadows of Mordor? Possibly Fable? I literally know nothing about these games. But until then, next up is South Park: The Stick of Truth, which I’m sure will at least be funny.