Random Film of the Week: Hard to be a God

(Thanks, kinolorber!)

Imagine an episode of Game of Thrones as performed by the cast of Peter Weiss’ Marat/Sade minus the fantasy elements and with an even more staggering attention to medieval detail and you’ll maybe grasp a small potion of the late Aleksei German’s outstanding, brutal (yet beautiful) Hard to be a a God. This 2013 film (the director’s last) isn’t for the easily disturbed but if you’re willing to sit through the almost three hour running time, you’ll likely find yourself glued to the screen from beginning to end.

While it may not look like a sci-fi film, right from the start you’ll see subtitles that note the story takes place on an earth-like planet going through its medieval phase about 800 years after ours. A group of scientists have been send there to observe the planet and gently nudge it forward without using technology or politics as it goes through what should be a renaissance phase. Unfortunately, things kind of get a bit out if hand when intellectuals of all types become targets for murder by a tyrant’s roaming militia intent on keeping the people uneducated and (mostly) harmless. Actually, about 28 minutes in, you get a reminder that you’re on another world thanks to a quick shot of something mechanical making itself known. But even then, the illusion of an incessantly nasty age isn’t at all broken.

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“Get Me Rewrite!” (Again!): Not So Retro Game Reviews To Make A Comeback!

Raze's Hell Cover (Custom)Okay, this one’s a doozy, folks. From early 2004 to around 2007 I was writing for a now defunct gaming site called Bonusstage.com and when the site died its untimely death after a series of DNS attacks and a double server crash or something did it in. At the SAME time, the computer I’d been using to work and game on had its hard drive burn up, putting me out of action for a time until I could get it replaced. As I wasn’t able to salvage the drive and thought foolishly that “What’s on the internet stays there FOREVER!”, I thought that whatever I wrote would be around no matter what happened. Welllll… I was wrong.

Long story short, a huge chunk of work I did wasn’t fully archived when the wheels of fate all locked up at the wrong time, I wasn’t backing up stuff properly at the home office and when you add those together, it’s a big fat mess. Or NON-mess, as there’s nothing to clean up but some crocodile tears… Continue reading

Random Film of the Week(end) Quickie: Dreamgirls

DreamgirlsWhile I’m a huge fan of the classics, I don’t like most modern Hollywood musicals or biopics because they try to hard to be entertaining and just feel as if they’re baked from the same stale mold. I can’t put my finger on anything other than a certain soullessness thanks to a few factors seen as “necessary” to whatever formula makes a “hit” these days.

Anyway, moving on. Despite some fine acting and singing, primo Oscar bait like Dreamworks’ big 9and massively hyped) 2006 film Dreamgirls didn’t do a thing for me either. Still, I’ve watched it in its entirety twice and one part at least two dozen or so times because it made me fall off the couch laughing the first time and stuck with me to the point that whenever the film pops up on cable, I will turn to it just for that single scene.

If you know what I’m talking about, then good for you and you’re chuckling already. If you don’t, well here you go. Mister Jimmy Early… do your stuff! Um… you may want to have a seat there, kiddo.  Oh, and don’t drink anything while watching this clip if you’ve yet to see the movie (spoiler alert? I guess so):

 
I had to leave the room for a few minutes, as if I have to see this clip again, I might pop something inside. Heh. Gets me every time. As for the rest of the film? Meh. I have my Motown and Stax memories and the actual music from that era to keep my ears, brain and (if I feel like shaking a tail feather) hips occupied. So I don’t need any expensive (but nice looking and well intentioned) films that want me to “feel” something for the people in it when all I care about are the old tunes and memories those classic songs bring forth. That said, Eddie Murphy kills it dead here. “Jimmy got soul” indeed. Heee.

Something Old, Something New (Or, One GOOD Thing About Digital Games)…

torchlightWell, well, well. Digital games are good for something after all. I’d purchased an inexpensive boxed copy of Torchlight off eBay a few years back from an overseas seller and it actually arrived quickly and ran just fine. It wasn’t until after playing it for a week and coming across some text in another language that I had the thought it wasn’t a legal version (despite the official looking Microsoft hologram on the slipcase) and I wanted to support Runic Games and all their hard work. Shortly afterward, I ended up buying Torchlight again, this time directly from the Runic site. However, I wasn’t able to download it thanks to my crap home connection (the reason why I sought out a physical copy in the first place). Of course, after that, Encore put out a disc version in the US and yep, I bought one of those as well. Amusingly enough, I ended up gifting that one to a friend for his birthday as he wanted to play the game but also had a crap internet connection.

Yeah, I’m a nice guy when I want to be… Continue reading