Archive for April, 2014

Movie Review: Divergent

Oh my word, it’s almost May. Do I have some things to catch up on.

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Starring:
Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet
Director:
Neil Burger (The Illusionist, Limitless)
Rating: M
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Cynical mode activated. Here comes yet another Lionsgate young adult teen novel series stretched into more movies than is necessary for the sake of raking in extra money, following in the footsteps of Twilight and The Hunger GamesBrace yourselves, because Neil Burger‘s Divergent is a post-apocalyptic tale with a female protagonist, a radically restructured dystopian society with distinct costumes that indicate moral allegiance and a bit of romance thrown in. Now where have we seen that before?

Cynical mode deactivated. I was introduced to the Divergent saga (written by the surprisingly young Veronica Roth) much the same way as I was The Hunger Games – an interested sibling and the promise of a “next big thing”. Yes, in a way that makes me a part of Lionsgate’s ideal demographic, who still isn’t over the buzz generated by The Hunger Games – I mean, just look at the first Divergent trailer and compare it to any of the HG ones. But I am a notoriously appalling reader of fiction and yet I got through the first Divergent book relatively painlessly. Why? Because there is more to this series than a checklist of popular modern elements – its themes go deeper – or at least more intimate – than politics, into a more personal ideological space. Its futuristic Chicago is divided into five factions, each one requiring its members to adhere to a single prevailing virtue (Knowledge, courage, selflessness, kindness and honesty respectively). I’d easily recommend the book, for the most part, to anyone interested in its concept. The movie? Not quite as much. It’s certainly watchable, and it gets several things right, but it has issues.

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Mega Ultra Blast Cast Ep.19


mubc2

The Mega Ultra Blast Cast returns to its ideal two week episode gap this time around, bringing the episode length back down to a slightly less ugly 65 minutes. In this rather relaxed episode, the boys discuss the merits of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, talk trash about Towerfall Ascension, try to craft the ideal gaming console out of existing available console features and make a concerted effort to work out just what the hell Tomodachi Life is actually about. More code giveaways abound as well. Enjoy!

If you feel so inclined, go for a run, take a scenic drive or just curl up on the couch and play some games while you listen to the opinions of three relaxed Sydneysiders.

You can play the whole episodes right off this page if that’s what you’re into:


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Or you can go to the Soundcloud site/app and listen from there:
https://soundcloud.com/mega-ultra-blast-cast/mubc-19

(To download and listen offline, follow the link and then click the download tab)

As always if you enjoy what you hear please share the cast with your friends – Until next time!

A Thank You

Vagrant Rant‘s second guest week was a resounding success! I am deeply grateful to the seven people who agreed to write for my blog and I am once again amazed at what people are capable of producing. I am inspired.

Thank you to Soapman, CrAk3rs, Krispy, Blizz117, XVSting, Opinion_Invalid and BrotherMiles for your inputs. More of the good stuff coming up right here!

Why I Don’t Hate Remakes

Time to close out the week with a kendo enthusiast, accomplished D&D dungeon master and manchester expert.

—Written by BrotherMiles—

—Edited/formatted by Vagrantesque—

Good Evening Internet,

Let me start off by thanking Ryan for having me here and allowing me to yell into the aether. Love the work you’re doing here Ryan!

In the spirit of my argument.

In the spirit of my argument.

The thought I want to present to you tonight, Internet, is that remakes of your beloved games don’t have to be evil, nor does the act of undertaking the resurrection of an old franchise constitute a scheme to cut your purse. As long as the developer is using the original as an inspiration rather than a commodity then I am a happy man.

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Vocal Magic

So we are coming to the end of another Guest Week and here is the well-informed opinion of a man I’ve known for over a decade.

—Written by Opinion_Invalid—

—Edited/formatted by Vagrantesque—

Firstly, a massive thank you to the author of this blog – Ryan (Vagrantesque), for allowing me the opportunity to voice my personal opinions with a top-ten countdown. I have made every effort to ensure that the accuracy of the information in this article is correct, however I cannot vouch for its total reliability. Please note that I have not included every individual release that each of these voice actors have been involved in – I have resolved to simply listing the first/most appropriate film, television show or videogame from which I am familiar with their work…

No. 10 Harry Shearer

Voice of: Seymour Skinner, Montgomery Burns, Waylon Smithers, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy, and many more (The Simpsons)

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Harry Shearer, of This Is Spinal Tap fame, provides the voice behind a very replete roster of Springfield denizens – largely comprised of the more sophisticated male roles in the popular television series. Hugely impressive is Shearer’s incredibly diverse range of inflections individualised for each particular part, along with the remarkable ability to alternate freely between the dialogue of Mr Burns and Waylon Smithers in a single take of recording. Equally deserving of mention is Dan Castellaneta and Hank Azaria, both of whom dub the voices behind a mind-boggling number of characters in the show.

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The Problem With Today’s Comic Book Films

We dive into the second half of Guest Week with an Iranian-born movie/gaming fanatic packing some prior experience writing for entertainment media publications in his home country.

—Written by XVSting—

—Edited/formatted by Vagrantesque—

July 2008. The latest installment of Gotham’s caped crusader was released and unexpectedly, it changed the face of comic book movies forever. The Dark Knight by Christopher Nolan was not only the most appreciated comic book even to this date, but it elevated the comic book genre from cheesy-colorful costumes to award winning dark tales. With extraordinary performances and breathtaking action, The Dark Knight shattered every single barrier and expectation audiences had from a comic book movie. 2008 was also the birth of the first installment of Disney’s fresh cinematic universe that would revolutionise the genre with their masterfully planned strategy. The question is, did titles like 2012’s The Avengers benefit audiences and related movies by creating a new standard, or has their greatness damaged the smaller and solo franchises?  Let’s get started and see how far our beloved and flashy comic book movies have come!

The battle is on.

The battle is on.

While the world didn’t end at 2012, it was definitely a landmark year for comic book movies. As a kid (and I’m positive this was the same for all comic book fans), all I ever wanted was to see a crossover between characters such as Spider-Man and the X-Men together in a movie (Even a small reference would make me happy). Hence the reason why I loved games such as Marvel vs Capcom or Marvel Ultimate Alliance so much – they were one of the few entertainment media sources where fans could experience all those characters together in one picture. As I grew up, and essentially got more informed about the industry, that dream slowly faded away due to the multiply copyright dramas of each character and their respective rights holders.  As much as I love and appreciate the greatness of The Avengers for turning mine and probably all comic book fans’ dream into reality, it has created a set of fresh expectations for viewers and related studios. In short, Avengers was so good, everyone is now taking their own approach to catch up with Disney’s meticulously planned universe. Does that help us to see more extravagant movies with all-star characters? Yes. Has it affected the quality and progress of titles that are following this path? Well… this is where I think comic movies and generally most of the blockbuster trend might be going wrong.

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Single or Multi?

Here we have a post from someone who recently entered the wonderful world of game design. You can find a link to her personal blog below.

—Written by Blizz117—

—Edited/formatted by Vagrantesque—

Single or multiplayer video games – which do you prefer?

Is this even a legit question? Well that depends on the person you’re asking I suppose. Just a little background knowledge of me: My area of study is Games Design so this question forms part of a group assignment I’m currently working on. That is why I picked this particular topic to discuss (and also I’m very indecisive on choosing what to talk about so learning stuff from college is awesome sauce). I’ve already written in depth about my group assignment so there is no point in discussing it in further detail here, you can totes read it in my blog (janettewritesaboutstuff.wordpress.com, #shamelesslyselfpromote).

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The Best and Worst Decisions in K-Pop

Day three and we move back into the K-Pop sphere with an article written by one third of the K-Pop dance cover group ZISSPop (check them out on YouTube) who also happens to be my sister.

Also, a quick note: Unfortunately tomorrow I won’t have the means to post anything, so Guest Week will technically go on one day longer this time around.

—Written by Krispy—

—Edited/formatted by Vagrantesque—

Hello, all. I am Krispy, sibling of Vagrantesque. Some of you may know me from ‘ZISSpop’, my K-Pop dance cover group. I have a special interest in both dance and Korean culture, so K-Pop is sort of my forte, given that it includes a generous portion of both. The following article details what – in my opinion – have been some of the best and worst decisions in the Korean Pop Music genre thus far. This includes relevant factors such as fashion, music taste, choreography, skill and group dynamic; not just music. If you know nothing about K-Pop, you probably won’t really know what I’m talking about, but feel free to give it a read anyway.

OK, what?

I tried to choose and rank these objectively (which meant getting rid of all my bias’ and fan-girl conceived opinions). The result was quite a lengthy and detailed analysis of various components within K-Pop. If you do not agree, I hope that you can at least enjoy!

– – – KRISPY DISCLAIMER – – –
The following article represents my opinion only. I am not trying to say that my opinion is the way to go, nor am I trying to claim that mine is the only one that matters, nor that I am the best. Although a lot of the following information is factual, my opinion is not fact. I do welcome your opinions, but please don’t bully me. Ty.

 

The Seven Worst decisions

 

7. Doing a second ‘Growl’ clip.

A collection of EXO’s close ups in the 2nd video for ‘Growl’.

Look, do I want to be that guy who complains about seeing extra EXO footage? No. But it just seems to me that SM’s second rendition of EXO’s Growl was a touch unnecessary. The first video had already gone viral because of how unique it was, with its smooth camera work, its complex choreography and the fact that it was (supposedly) all filmed in one single take. So why would you divert people from that? (Inb4 ‘fan-service’ and ‘for the money’). Don’t get me wrong, I love EXO as much as the next guy (probably a little more than the next guy), but to me they just take the simple first video and jazz it up, add some special effects, put a little more makeup on the blokes and force them to repeat the choreo in front of a snazzy background (and without the 360 degree camera action that made the first video unforgettable!) Call me old fashioned, but I am just a fan of some good dancing, and EXO showed a new level of skill in that first Growl clip that will set them apart from other K-Pop groups for the foreseeable future (even if only for that shot of Kai dropping his hat and then swiftly picking it up and stepping back into the choreo without blinking an eye).

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The Power of the Steam Sale

Day number two. Here’s a friend of mine who has recently followed the light at the end of the Steam-powered tunnel.

—Written by CrAk3rs—

—Edited/formatted by Vagrantesque—

Steam and sales – two words that are burnt into the minds of the lucky people who are part of the glorious PC Master Race, (sorry console kids). The sales are those of legend, creating hysteria, hype and pandemonium, ravaging our wallets of the hard earned cash that we have so long worked for.  But Steam hasn’t always been the go-to marketplace for PC. Believe it or not there once was a time where people were highly critical of the platform.

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On Endings, Or Why Bosses Make the Game

Let’s kick the week off with a writer whose general observation blog partially inspired me to get writing several years ago.

—Written by Soapman—

—Edited/formatted by Vagrantesque—

Games are made and games are ruined by their finale. Rage, for example, is a gloriously fun game, but its finale leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, and I find myself unwilling to play it again, knowing its ending. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, however, despite being one of my least favourite Zelda games, has such a fantastic, frantic, and dramatic finale, that I find myself constantly wanting to play the game again, just to beat the boss. It is therefore the finale, in particular the boss, which I discuss in the following collection of words.

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