Oct 24 2014

There’s a Creepy Doll that Always Follows You…

Published by under Movies,Reviews

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I still can’t believe it.  They did it; they actually pulled it off.  Against all odds, Blumhouse Productions actually managed to turn Annabelle into a legitimately good movie.  The film had everything going against it – a historically terrible director, a largely untested screenwriter, a cast consisting completely of unknowns and non-entities and a subject that could most readily be described as a more confusing version of Chucky – and yet that somehow proved to be more than enough to churn out a surprisingly high-quality horror film.

When John Form buys a rare, vintage doll for his pregnant wife Mia, it’s supposed to be a celebration of their new life together.  But when Annabelle Wallis, their neighbor’s estranged daughter, murders her parents in the middle of the night as part of a satanic ritual, everything changes for them.  Before the police can stop her, Annabelle attacks the Forms, slits her own throat, paints a satanic symbol into their nursery wall with her own blood and dies cradling the cherubic doll.

But that is only the beginning of the Forms’ troubles.  Annabelle’s ritual bound a demon to Mia’s doll, and it will not abate until it collects its due: a human soul.  The dark presence within the doll relentlessly stalks the Forms, and especially Mia: burning down their house, chasing Mia through her new apartment complex and abducting the Forms’ newborn child.  Not even the Catholic Church proves capable of saving the new family from their demonic tormentor.  Their only potential salvation lies within Evelyn – a kindly bookstore owner who believes that she was saved by God for a higher purpose. Continue Reading »

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Oct 23 2014

Diablo III, The Ultimate Pavlovian Mechanism

Published by under Video Games


I was a little hesitant to pick up Diablo III for my console – I’d played the first two games on a PC, and I had trouble seeing how some of the finer points of using skills would transfer over – but it turned out to be loads of fun.  Great interface, good pace, really fun skill progression/modification/customization.

Of course I was aware of the slightly insane logic of games like this: fight monsters that drop items that make your character more powerful, so you can fight harder monsters that drop better items that make your character even more powerful, so you can… fight harder monsters.  I’m sure there’s a word for it.  Pretty much any inventory-based RPG has this mechanic working to some extent.  And it’s certainly not a problem on its own – after all, with games like this, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

But the more I played Diablo III, the more I was slightly disturbed at how incredibly slick it all felt.  From the visible experience bar (just a liiiiiitle further) and the way your character lights up when you make a Paragon level, to the aesthetically pleasing orange column of light and special, unique sound that plays when a legendary item drops, the more I played, the more I felt like the game was playing me.

Continue Reading »

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Oct 23 2014

The New Boondocks vs. Black Jesus

Published by under Debate,Television


As usual, the last year of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block didn’t pass without controversy. Given the lengthy gaps between seasons for Aaron Mcgruder’s suicidally-offensive animated racial satire The Boondocks, any new season has been cause to celebrate over the last ten years. After a four year hiatus the show returned for a fourth season, but it wasn’t quite intact. The man who created the legendary comic strip in college and eventually brought it to the small screen in an even more in-your-face form was no longer involved.

The exact reasoning behind this decision remains a mystery, but Cartoon Network wasn’t done with the radical satirist yet as McGruder was slated to return to television with a bizarre live action series, Black Jesus. The Boondocks has been one of my favorite animated shows since the day it premiered, but could such a unique project survive the loss of the man who built it almost entirely with his own blood, sweat, and tears? And could McGruder possibly duplicate his success in the animated medium in live action? Now that both seasons have run their course, let’s see which one got the better. Continue Reading »

2 responses so far

Oct 22 2014

Great Power, Maybe…But Who’s Responsible?

Published by under Columns,Comics


I’m fairly new to comic books. I started reading because I’ve always wanted to write my own, and I’m a big fan of passing procrastination off as study. I’m also now within walking distance of new editions for the first time. But I’m no authority on the subject, and I look forward to comments filling any gaps I may leave. Despite my freshness to the medium, I’ve been left slighted by my mates at Marvel this week.

I understand there’s a whole lot of artists – pencillers, inkers, colourists, all that – in the industry. As Marvel’s characters criss-cross their way through the universe, it makes sense that artists will need to share timelines to an extent. And given that there’s a whole multiplex of Spider-Men (whom I’m only loosely familiar with), there’s need of an army of superhero sketchers to pull all the strings of that particular web into place.

This is fine, as long as there’s a logic to the madness. Continue Reading »

4 responses so far

Oct 22 2014

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Digital Downloads vs Physical Copies

Published by under Editorials,Video Games

dig vs phys title

Invariably, when a video game console announces that it will be digital-only, all hell breaks loose on the internet. The vast majority of vocal gamers seem to loathe the idea of digital downloads. People generally allow exceptions when it comes to smart phones or tablets, but in regards to nearly every other venue, people come out on the side of physical copies.

Understanding why they have this reaction isn’t hard. I am firmly a member of the pro-physical camp. In fact, I own hundreds of copies of old cartridge games despite their rampantly free availability as ROMs online.

Despite my inexorable personal stance on digital games, I still happen to purchase digital copies surprisingly frequently. In fact, in the past year I have likely purchased many more digital games than physical ones.

Why have I done this in flagrant disregard of my on-paper principles? Why even have a stance against digital downloads of games at all? The sheer ambivalence of this discussion warrants laying some home truths out in the open. Doing so takes an explicit comparison between both the good and bad qualities of each medium… Continue Reading »

3 responses so far

Oct 21 2014

Casting the Amalgam Universe Movies Phase 2

Published by under Comics,Movies


Fire up your Tamagotchi and pop on The Spice Girls, we’re bring the 90s into today by casting Phase 2 of the Amalgam Universe comic book movies. For you Unrealtors who may have missed the first edition of this article, the Amalgam Universe was a once-in-a-True-Believer’s-lifetime event where the big two comic publishers, Marvel and DC, decided to throw their respective universes into one big blender and publish books with whatever came out. It was fascinating, it was fun, and it’ll never happen again.

However, happen it did and in this wild world of comic cinema who knows who will be trading quips on the silver screen. So, assuming we’re following the Marvel Studios system, let’s see who’d be donning tights, capes, and maybe a helmet or two for Amalgam Universe Phase 2. Continue Reading »

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Oct 20 2014

Evil Within Isn’t So Scary After All

Published by under Editorials,Video Games


My roommate was raving all summer about this video game called Evil Within. He wouldn’t shut up about how scary the trailer looked. Evil Within is the latest foray of Shinji Mikami in the genre of horror. Gamers know the man for his work on a handful of early Resident Evil games. I really missed how horror was subtle in older games wherein it was all about playing tricks with the mind. Modern survival horror titles tend to think that better graphics are advantage as they try to scare players overtly by making the most grotesque creatures ever. I don’t know about you, but I find the unknown a lot scarier. The Evil Within appeared to be a promising survival horror title. It’s not a bad game as a whole, but it fails to scare players in a memorable way that’ll make it an all time classic.

Read on for more.

Continue Reading »

4 responses so far

Oct 17 2014

Days of Future Awesome

Published by under Movies,Reviews


There are some things that you just can’t help but give second chances to.  Despite the innumerable ways that they have disappointed you in the past, you know that somehow, if given enough time, they will prove that you were right to trust them all along.  This is how I have felt about the X-Men films since X2.  Despite a strong start to the series, it quickly spiraled into a miasma of false starts, tangled continuity and disappointing Wolverine spin-offs.  And just when First Class offered a fresh new start to a stagnant series, Days of Future Past loomed ominously in the distance – an impossibly complicated film that would attempt to merge the franchise’s parallel timelines into a streamlined retcon.  I had never been so worried about the direction of the franchise, nor have I ever been so pleased to give a struggling series a second chance.

The future is a bleak and desolate wasteland.  In their blind desperation to secure their survival as a species, mankind developed Sentinels – robotic drones that can adaptively incorporate the powers of any mutant that they come into contact with.  Not only have they brought mutants to near extinction, but have even succeeded at eradicating humans whose genetics would eventually produce mutant descendants.  Faced with the inevitability of their own destruction, Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr have made common cause against a titanic mutual enemy.

Even at the brink of extinction, however, there is still hope.  Kitty Pryde’s ability to phase through solid matter has developed to the point where she can phase a person’s consciousness into their younger body: allowing them to travel backwards through time and change the course of future events.  She succeeds at sending Wolverine back to 1973, where he must unite a misanthropic Xavier and an incarcerated Magneto, at a time when the two men couldn’t be further apart, in order to prevent Mystique from assassinating Sentinel inventor Bolivar Trask and setting into motion the events that would convince humanity of the need for Trask’s weapons. Continue Reading »

2 responses so far

Oct 17 2014

This Week In Movie Trailers!

Published by under Movies

This past weekend I went, I saw and I loved Gone Girl. It was absolutely one heck of a thrill to watch and it truly kept me guessing the entire time. I was constantly coming up with my own theories as to how all the events would unfold. I was also consistently wrong with most of them.

What other movies have you guys seen lately that you would suggest I go check out? I hear the Judge is better than the critics are saying about it …

Let’s do this.

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6 responses so far

Oct 17 2014

The Morning Link: 10 Joyful Films Only Cynics Can Dislike

Published by under Morning Link


“Oh, you thought it was overrated because it won Best Picture and maybe didn’t deserve that title, and maybe only achieved the Oscar because of a very effective Oscar marketing campaign?”

Go here to see the list.

One response so far

Oct 16 2014

The 2014 Fall TV Season: What I’m Looking For

Published by under Television


It’s that time of year again – your favorite TV shows are back, or about to come back.  Yes, the huge, big deal shows – Mad Men, Game of Thrones – are approximately 46 months away from just starting to think about a teaser trailer for the new season, but the “kick back and enjoy it” shows have either started up again, or are about to.  Archer will be back in a few months.  New Girl is a few episodes into the new season.  Community is coming early 2015.  Parks and Rec will be back mid-season for a last hurrah.  Bob’s Burgers just came back about a week ago.

When it comes to shows like these, where I’m pretty much in it for the sheer entertainment, I tend to care about what happens and what direction the series is going.  This is a pretty odd stance – I didn’t care about The Wire or Breaking Bad in this way.  It has something to do with the fact that those shows were so good, I didn’t need to care – I trusted them enough that I knew wherever they went, it would be awesome.  I know it doesn’t make any logical sense.  It’s kind of like how you don’t want to step away from the TV during an important game, because your team is somehow affected by the invisible Concern Rays shooting out of your head.  If your team is really, really good, they don’t really need your help.  Which is to say I don’t feel particularly concerned with how Mad Men is going to wrap up; it’s a brilliant show, I’m pretty sure whatever they do is going to be awesome.  But New Girl could so easily become terrible – it’s already kind of teetering on the edge.  I feel like I have to care about it more.

So, in the spirit of those Invisible Concern Rays, here are a few things I hope happen to my favorite underdog shows.

Continue Reading »

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