Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


I think Christopher Nolan is a fucking genius. In my opinion he is the only director of the modern day to come close to touching the greatness of the shadow of Kubrick. I've been a fan of his since Insomnia, but I think we all know that was a bit too safe of a movie to follow Memento. Nolan's true filmmaking strengths lies in creating the strange and the visually stunning and he does so in Inception and even in his Batman films.

However, I would argue that Interstellar is by far his most visually stunning and Kubrickian movie. You cannot watch this film without comparing it to 2001: A Space Odyssey. I mean that in a mostly good way, too. Granted, this movie is not quite as far out or good as Kubrick's space opus, but it is still pretty fucking far out and good.

I regret the fact that I never got to see it in theaters. Or in 3D. Normally, I don't give a shit about 3D, but there are certain scenes in this movie that just beg to be seen in another dimension. If you've seen the scenes with the wormhole and the black hole then you already know what I am talking about.

Of course, this movie is not perfect and it is not quite as good as what Kubrick might have made. Some plot lines don't make sense or are just plain dumb. Let's start with just how Matthew McConaughey's character Cooper stumbled into being an astronaut after being a misfit farmer for most of his life. NASA's secret HQ was practically next door to him and that is cool, but if Cooper was such a hotshot pilot... wouldn't NASA have come to him instead? You'd think, but it took an act of the supernatural to lead Cooper to the NASA base. Strange.

Some of the scenery on earth is also bland. Even more bland than Anne Hathaway's performance. 

And then there is the ending to consider...

But then this film gets so crazy magnificent at times that it is hard to consider this film anything other than a wondrous experience that can only be described by watching it.

I love this movie, but I am on the fence over how high to rank it. At it's worst it is a 7.5. At it's best it is a 9. So I think an 8.25 should be sufficient of a grade.

Of course, I am a big fan of films that take on the vastness of space without relying on Star Wars as crutch or a starting point. So you may feel free to color me biased. I really love shit about outer space.

Matthew McConaughey was also awesome in this movie. I never used to appreciate his acting skills because most of the movies he starred in were dumb. I knew he was a good actor because he was great in A Time to Kill, but there was a long time where he was in a lot of rubbish.

But he's been in a lot of interesting movies lately where you can actually appreciate his presence without automatically thinking of his (totally awesome) quote from Dazed and Confused.

Anyway, it's a damn fine flick and one I am glad I finally got out of my "to watch" list.

Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle

I suppose that it is long past time I talked about how I've been managing to nerd out lately. When I managed to get my hands on a PS4 and played the shit out of Dragon Ball Xenoverse I thought my life was pretty much complete. Then I basically finished that game and I felt a bit of a hole open up inside me. An emptiness. A nothingness. It was a deep and dark hole that only something fantastically nerdy could satisfy. 

With Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 still a few months away and Pokemon Go falling off the radar for me I had few places I could turn to. So I started looking at my phone and downloaded a game called Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle.

The game has been around for a while and there are two versions of it. A lot of internet folks play the Japanese version of it, but I don't know how to do that so I've been playing the "global" version. Unfortunately the global version is a couple of months behind the Japanese version so there are a lot of kickass characters that won't be available for quite a while. 

But until I can figure out how to play the Japanese version on android I am basically stuck with the global version.

The game is simple enough in that you play different stages with different characters and you have to line up colored orbs to level up your attacks. Your attacks get high enough and you get to beat your opponent. And when you beat your opponent you get the chance for some sweet drops. 

Of course, you get the chance to get much stronger characters throughout the game and play in a lot of different stages. You get power boosts from training and items and clearing levels and you get zeni from selling characters you no longer need and clearing levels. 

The summoning is probably the funnest (and most frustrating) aspect of the game, though. 

Basically, you use five dragon stones (which you can get from the game in a variety of ways including using actual money to buy them) for a single summon under any banner you choose or up to fifty stones for a "multi-summon." Multi-summons get you ten characters and a single summon only gets you one. 

RNG plays a huge factor, though. SSR's are the goal for the game. SSR meaning super super rare. So you really won't get many of those and if you do get one it probably won't be the one you want. Any SSRs are typically good unless you are insanely high leveled and have a ton of them already. SR's are okay, but some might be pretty useless depending on what deck you are trying to build. R's are pretty much all garbage except for a select few characters than you can use in certain ways if you really, really want to. 

And N's are bullshit you can use to train your stronger characters. Or sell them to Baba's Shop. Whatever. 

I had a successful day with three of these SSR's being new hauls. And I really, really wanted that Majin Vegeta, too. So I'm really happy. 

I've also been evolving some other cards and I am hoping to "Dokkan Awaken" another. Dokkan Awakening takes quite a bit of grinding because you first have win medals to "Z-Awaken" a character and then you have to win different medals to "Dokkan" them. All while making sure the character you are trying to power up is maxed out. That means training them up with "Friend Summons."

So there's quite a bit of patience involved when it comes to getting the characters you want, maxing them out, and creating the right team. And some of the bad guys can be really tough. The Broly one is brutally hard. So getting your team is half the battle. Winning the game is the other. 

I've been playing this game way too much. After 26 consecutive days I'm level 40 and I have two URs and and ten SSR's in my deck. Of my 51 characters only one is a rare and any N's I come across are training bait. 

I'm still learning the game and I am trying not to have to spend money to keep a steady flow of dragon stones going. It is hard though. You can earn dragon stones by beating levels but sometimes the levels are so hard you use dragon stones for a chance to revive to keep battering the enemy. So you could spend three stones to revive, but only get one stone if you win. 

So playing smart is important. Don't waste stones like that unless you really have to. Because if you don't have stones you can't summon and build your team. 

Anyway, it is a neat little game and an addicting one if you don't mind playing on your phone. It helps me take my mind off of the depressing circumstances surrounding my life. 

I'll see you next time. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Suicide Squad

Ever since Christopher Nolan stepped away from the batcave the theatrical world of DC has been struggling a bit. Marvel's insane success with its extended universe has only seemed to exaggerate the matter. Man of Steel isn't a bad film exactly, but it is definitely molded after Nolan's reboot of the bat. Yet it is a decent enough movie on its own and I recall really liking it when I saw it in theaters.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (as far as the Ultimate Edition, with thirty extra minutes is concerned, since that is the only version I've seen) isn't completely terrible, but it is a far cry from the asskicking epicness of Captain America: Civil War or The Avengers and is certainly a step down in quality. And the "Martha" thing was pretty stupid and I figured out what was going to happen with that from the get-go.

After the success of Deadpool someone at DC thought it would be a neat idea to make their own version of it and they didn't quite succeed. What is worse is that they took everything that was great and biting about Deadpool and watered it down into a Will Smith vehicle more akin to Independence Day than anything else.

And I like Will Smith normally. I liked him in this movie, too. He's great at doing his usual Will Smith thing. But.... I don't know. He didn't seem remotely villainous. I expected more from him in this movie. Granted, I expected more from everything about this movie except for Jared Leto's Joker. 

Jared Leto is easily the most forgettable Joker committed to celluloid to date. I wouldn't call him bad exactly, but he is about as memorable as Troy Baker's voiceover version of the Joker. What? Don't recall that? Probably because you automatically think of Mark Hamill when you think of the voice of the animated Joker. I love Troy Baker's contributions to voice acting and his Joker is even valid, but... you just can't make the wheel twice and expect us to appreciate it the same the second time around. I think that is called the law of diminishing returns

For better or worse Heath Ledger's portrayal as the Joker will be the bar against which all other Joker portrayals will be measured for quite sometime. And Jared Leto's Joker just doesn't measure up. He doesn't compare to Jack Nicholson's Joker, either. 

He's just... there. A thug with green hair. There's no overwhelming sense of menace. There's no epic "let's put a smile on that face." There's not even a "Never rub another man's rhubarb." Just nothing. 

I've heard all the stories about editing ruining this Joker and so on and I don't care. Sure, editing can kill a movie or even a character, but Batman's cameo in this movie was effective regardless of his screentime. I am not sure I appreciated his confrontation with Deadshot quite as much, but he was basically the same Batman we saw in Batman v Superman and we didn't need thirty minutes of him to figure that out. He was there, did his Batman thing for a few minutes, and then BAM he was gone. I am still not sure about Ben Affleck's Batman as far as my personal preference goes, but his version is a valid enough Batman. 

The Joker had more screentime in this movie but did little with it. 

Of course, this isn't even a Joker movie and it would have been just fine without him. It would have been fine without Batman, too. 

Honestly, this is not even the sequel to Batman v Superman that it tries so hard to be. Yes, this movie is filled with references to DC's previous cinematic failure and even features Batman, but it just doesn't make sense for this movie to follow in those footsteps when it feels like it not only should want to stand on its own, but it also should be able to poke fun at that same film and at itself. Much like Deadpool did to the X-Men films and to Deadpool's previous appearance in X-Men Origins

But nope, the attitude this film tries to have is quickly tamed by the need to follow a set formula. A formula that actually isn't even that good for DC yet. 

This film doesn't have the balls it wants you to think it has. So on that front this film is a failure. 

Believe it or not, none of this really describes the film's plot, though. I have said nothing on it. In fact, I can barely remember the plot. Something about the Enchantress and so on. I don't know. It didn't really seem important. The world was going to end from some terrible gravitational device (yet another one) and a ragtag group had to put an end to it because Batman and the Justice League were probably out building their Justice League base or washing their tights or something. Their absence from the climax of this film is a bit of a mystery. 

But whatever. 

From the start of this movie we are barraged with twenty different rock and pop songs we've all heard fifty millions times in at least fifty million better movies. I love Creedence, but Fortunate Son doesn't need to be featured in another movie ever again. Ever. 

And all the time they spent introducing these characters to overplayed rock songs really meant fuck all at the end of the day because no one other than Harley or Deadshot really had any kind of significance on the movie. . I mean, what exactly did Captain Boomerang or Croc do in this movie? Jack Squat, that is what. A superpowered The Dirty Dozen this film is not. 

I still enjoyed this film in the way that I enjoy Monster Energy drinks and poptarts from time to time. Basically, this is the kind of movie that is bad for you but you probably know that but watch it anyway because slumming it every now and then seems okay somehow. Still doesn't compare to a decently cooked 22 oz porterhouse and some Maker's Mark, though. 

Seriously, watch The Dark Knight and then watch this movie. 

Or better yet don't watch this movie and watch The Dark Knight. Unless you just like poptarts.