Oct 31, 2014

[Movies] Cube (1997)

The irony is not lost on me that my appreciation for the psychological horror movie Cube never translated into an appreciation for the Saw movies. At the same time, I've only seen that first Cube movie - I never got around to watching the others. But it remains one of the stranger movies that I've enjoyed over the years despite my general dislike for most horror flicks.

But Cube is more than just a horror movie. If anything, it's a ridiculously intelligent one - or at least one with a rather intelligent mathematical puzzle at its core. With a title like Cube, you should have already figured out that math would somehow be involved. But the way to integrated into the story worked our rather well.

Come to think of it, I was first introduced to his movie by one of my math professors in college. I forget precisely what year this happened, but I remember it being a sort of extra credit assignment to watch it and write about what we noticed in terms of the math in the movie. But let's not get too far ahead of the plot just yet.

Oct 30, 2014

[TV] The Strain: Season 1

It was Tobie who first called my attention to The Strain, which was one of the rare instances of him seeking out a particular book outside of comics or RPG books. It's not that Tobie doesn't like books - it's just not his primary focus. Anyway, the fact that the book involved Guillermo Del Toro was an interesting motivator to begin with plus the little story about how it had been a TV pilot that didn't get picked up and so now it was a book series.

Of course I doubt any of us were truly surprised when it was announced that The Strain was being adapted into a TV series. So yes, they didn't want to make a TV show about it before, but because it gathered a decent enough following as a book, it suddenly became a property worth investing in. There's a heck of a lot of irony at work here.

This all just goes to show that Hollywood truly is afraid of "new" ideas, even from established creatives like Del Toro. As much as possible, they're only willing to hedge their bets with "safer" investments such as remakes and reboots of existing material. And so when The Strain managed to get itself turned into a book series (and later a comic book series), well, then I guess it became fair game for the studios. Because reasons.

Oct 29, 2014

[Games] Dominare

The AEG release of Love Letter introduced us to the world of Tempest, the pseudo Ventian city-state full of intrigue that is the setting for many of their games. Each game is unique in terms of its play style, but share connections in terms of the narrative behind the game. I've found this to be a rater clever innovation to add more character to the game while obviously leveraging the brand to push more sales.

Dominare is the second Tempest game that we had a chance to play thanks to a friend. Our very first game convinced us to find a copy of the board game for our own collection given how compelling it was.

The game is highly strategic in nature and it certainly provides an interesting degree of challenge for players. And as a bit of a side bonus, it was nice to see the different Love Letter characters in this game, even if their functions here were rather different.

Oct 28, 2014

[Comics] Batgirl: Year One

ComiXology sales have been obvious lures to pick up various comic book titles, especially various mini-series. I don't seriously follow too many on-going titles outside of the Transformers comics, so it's a lot easier for me to get into short story arcs with a definite beginning and end. And while some are just okay, others are real gems that I'm glad that I was finally able to "get my hands on," even if just in a virtual sense.

Batgirl: Year One is a somewhat older title that was part of the larger effort to update and align the origin stories of various DC characters after the Crisis on Inifnite Earths event that pretty much overhauled the known DC universe. And if anything, this was a rather vivid retelling of that tale in a way that nicely touched on various aspects of her original origin story (or even stories), but also made sure to add a more modern spin to things.

The story is pretty much timeless and it's a brilliant read even after all this time. The action was pretty vivid and the writing was quite compelling - resulting in a rather delightful comic book experience.

Oct 27, 2014

[Movies] Neighbors (2014)

Tobie used to tease me all the time about Zac Efron. I'm pretty sure that I didn't actually have a crush on him, but then he figured I liked pretty boys or something. But then Zac Efron started really growing up and it became rather difficult to ignore his physique. On the flipside, I could always tease him about his like for Seth Rogen, and that's something that always works as long as he doesn't get too skinny.

Then along came Neighbors, a movie that front bills both actors. So I guess you could say that it was a movie perfectly crafted for both of us. And based on the initial trailers, it actually seemed rather funny.

The movie is pretty funny and wasn't quite as stupid as I expected to be. To be fair, there was still a fair amount of stupid, but it was appropriate for the movie and it still worked out for the most part. But I suppose it was balanced out with various other elements that were in play.

For the record, I think we all have to acknowledge that Zac Efron has gotten scarily sexy over the years. Seth Rogen described the whole situation pretty well in this Conan appearance.

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