Categories
Movies TV

The Endless – UFO Death Cults?

Directed: Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

Distributed:Well Go USA Entertainment

Release date: April 21, 2017 (Tribeca Film Festival) & April 6, 2018 (United States)

Warning: One of the images depicts suicide!

The Endless to me is quite the refreshing experience. This film from its wiki page says that it occupies the Space Science Fiction Horror genre, but I would have to disagree. I think this film is more interesting and puzzling than a horror film. However I will say there are some moments that you can definitely feel some genuine dread in the air, so I am guessing this is where the horror tag comes into play.

I came across this film recently when I was looking for something new to watch before bed. I have in recent times found what lovecraftian horror is and why it is important. This subgenre is something that I am surprised I even got into, because I am the biggest chicken when it comes to horror anything.

Cthulhu from the Lovecraft Cthulhu mythos. Link

“I hate the feeling of being scared”

But what I have found is that at least when we talk about Lovecraft based horror, I think this may be my favorite rendition of the genre. I believe this is so, because from what I have read and researched on YouTube, this subgenre is more interested in atmosphere and being intriguing. This in my opinion is much better than the typical slasher horror or jump scare type of films. While I do believe they have their place, just to me at least it was something that was never for me.

Now let’s tie this back to the film at hand. The Endless starts with a pretty lovecraft based premise which is, two brothers receive a tape from a past cult they were in, where it was said to be described as a UFO death cult(Do I have your attention yet?). To some that start might be a bit of a what is happening moment but for those that are into the Lovecraft mythos, this is right up our alley. One of the brothers(Younger brother) also thought this may be an interesting adventure to get involved in, but the older brother was pretty against it but he eventually gave in.

“I kind of agree with the older brother, you should mind your own business sometimes”

So they end up going back to the camp where the cult is located, which is called Camp Arcadia. And they are greeted with open arms, which is strange considering how they left the camp when they were younger.

So Creepy.

“Something is off about this camp”

Since arriving at the camp the younger brother seems to be enjoying himself more than he probably should, while the older brother seems on edge for good reason. The residents in the camp seem to be a bit off or shady, so to speak. The play this odd version of tug of war that just doesn’t feel right, it raised a few questions. Like who is holding the rope and how are they that strong? But that is just the start, the older brother later decides to go for a run where some really strange things start to happen in the area. It feels like something is observing him or hunting, I am not sure but I would be scared for my life if this was me.

Who is pulling the rope?
Meets rude guy during run.

After that another strange event happens where they go fishing and the older brother jumps overboard the fishing boat to swim to the bottom of the lake. He manages to find some sort of lunch box or something and they find a tape inside that somehow still works after being submerged for how many years?

That can’t be algae.

“How is this possible, it looks like a normal video tape, are those waterproof?”

This next part made me actually watch the film twice because I didn’t really understand what was going on. It seems that everyone in the local area is trapped in some kind of loop, where they live out there lives up to a certain point. What is causing this seems to delve back into the Lovecraft handbook, if I had to make a guess this time loop business is being controlled by a space monster or god of some sort. There is a lot of mental work here to be done with your imagination if you are willing to meet the film halfway.

Rude guy from earlier explaining whats going on.

After realizing what is going on the brothers decide it is probably time to leave and promptly attempt their escape.

Wrap up

This film was a great surprise to me for how much I enjoyed it. I was intrigued with the mystery of what was going on and shocked at how clever they were with effects. I think this is technically an indie film but I think they did great with such a lack of budget. Overall if what you have read so far seems interesting you should definitely give it a shot, these directors may be one of my favorites of the year.

Rating: 9/10

  • Lovecraft fan or not, this film is engaging and unsettling enough for most to enjoy if that is your pleasure.
Categories
Gaming Playstation 4

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (Remake)

Game: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy – Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

Developers: Vicarious Visions

Publisher: Activision

“Building bigger and better on a solid foundation”

Today’s review is centered around the second game of the trio from the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. I guess you can call this the middle child of the remakes, I thought of this when I had finished the game and was quite pleased with what I had experienced. As stated in the previous post(Crash 1 Remake) I never owned the original Crash Bandicoot games, so my experience will not have many if any comparisons to those games.

Our little sister.

The first thing I noticed when I started the sequel to Crash Bandicoot 1 was that I realized that this is a remake more than ever. I say this because, in my experience there is usually a graphical jump between games, as I think maybe the developers just get better at designing their product with the continued lifespan of the system they are putting the game on. However this wasn’t really the case in my experience, this game looks pretty much the same as the first Crash game in the remake trilogy. I guess you could make the argument that they do use a bit more stuff in the levels than the first remake, but it still seems to me that the overall graphical power output is relatively the same.

Side Note: I wonder when the original games came out if there was a noticeable difference in graphics quality.

One thing I will say that I did like this go around compared to the original game was that they immediately let you use Coco, who is Crash’s younger sister. I actually preferred using her and for a while now, I’m not really sure why. At first I thought it was because her character model seems to be a bit more compact than using Crash and this would allow me to make easier jumps. If you remember the core dna of this game as with the first, is to progress through each level while breaking as many boxes as possible, collecting as much fruit, and dying as little as possible, while going as fast as you can to reach the finish line.

But when using Coco I could be wrong, but I don’t think her slimmer player model really makes a difference. Next I thought that it was because her clothing color scheme was better as I feel she didn’t blend in with the level as much when compared to Crash. But by the large death count when alternating between Crash and Coco for comparison I believe this is also a wrong idea. After using Coco more and more compared to Crash I realized I just prefer to play as Crash’s cute little sister over him.

Side Note: Coco is better than crash, plus all bosses are Crash only, so it’s only fair she gets all the normal levels.

Enough rambling about my reasoning on why I like Coco over Crash. Another thing I noticed this go around was that there were more cut scenes this time as such:

You can really feel the big brain time happening.

This doesn’t look like much because it is simply a picture, but when you actually get to witness this in game, it feels more like a Saturday morning cartoon more than ever. (4Kids TV anyone). And to make it feel even more like a kids TV programming that you can interact with, they decided to give it more of a story as compared to the first. Although not anything special, it still gives a solid reason to your actions.

Story

It’s really simple actually, you are told that there are enemies that want to do you harm. So you work with Cortex to collect the crystals in hopes of stopping them. The end(I won’t spoil anything).

While the story is indeed simple and may even seem more so than needed based on how I wrote what it was above. I still think it is far above what was found in the first game. One flaw with the story this time around is that I feel was a bit of a mis-step was how the bosses were used. Outside of what I believe is that the last two bosses that you face, I am not sure why they were even there to fight you outside of I guess cortex telling them to, who is supposed to be working with you? Now I know I could be wrong here but it was just an observation, I was more focused on the battle itself, rather than why we were fighting.

Note: Overall I would say this time around the boss battles are better, I won’t spoil anything, but none took more than a few tries.

The core of this experience as compared to the first entry in the trilogy to me is definitely more fleshed out. The levels are less repetitive in general but there are definitely some offenders in this department. But while there are some that do repeat they usually aren’t copy and paste but should rather be thought of as an extension of each other. Also the level variety has gone up this time around, as in the gimmicks are better. 

For instance this was one of the more frustrating levels:

Don’t sting me Mr. Bee.

By this image you may not be able to see, but I am playing as Coco and am currently hiding underground. Why is she hiding you may ask, well this is where the bees can’t sting you of course. Notice I said bees and not wasp, those bastards can bury underground and wreck you in real life. In all seriousness however, I actually struggled with this level more than I’d like to admit.

Now while the bee themed level, where you hide underground was pretty intense I thought it was still a solid level. One level that while I liked in theory, in execution I think they could have cut it out of the game, this is the level I speak of:

Jet packing in space, shirts are for losers.

Yes there is a space jetpack level this time, and it is unique. So much so that it was pretty disorientating to the point where it started to give me motion sickness. I wish I could have just skipped this one, the difficulty wasn’t in the design of the level but my tolerance to its visuals.

I think that about covers it, the game looks about the same as the first Crash game in the trilogy, but does add a bit more to the background. The story is simple and easy to understand. The boss fights are more interesting this time around. The cartoon TV show aspect is stronger than ever. The level design is overall better than the first, but I do feel largely they weren’t as difficult. I don’t really have much negative to say about this game, from start to finish it was a better outing than the first game.

Rating: 7.5/10

–  Small improvements on a solid foundation, makes for a good sequel.

Categories
Manga Reading

Rokudou no Onna-tachi: Chapters 1 – 35

Author: Yuuji Nakamura
Debut: June 23, 2016

Disclaimer: I own none of the images used.

Rokudou no Onna-tachi is a school life and romantic comedy, written by Yuuji Nakamura. I randomly found this manga when I was looking for something new to read. I find it a bit funny that I came across this one and took the chance to actually read it. I say this because I am pretty sure the demographic of this manga is shounen, which isn’t something that I frequent all too often anymore as I get older. I would say generally when I read manga it is normally of the Seinen demographic which I think is the adult age range while shounen is young adult(I could be wrong on this).

The main character is a young boy by the name of Tousuke Rokudoe, who from now on I will be referring to as Rokudou. The story starts in a pretty ominous manner, if I am reading correctly I think Rokudou’s grandfather died and he gave him a weird scroll. To which he ended up reading when he wanted to show what was inside in front of his friends. After he opens the scroll, he gets this weird mark in the center of his forehead, and nobody knows what it is supposed to mean.

I wouldn’t be surpised if someone actually has this as a tattoo

Side note: I am curious if the mark has an actual real world meaning close to what the manga says.

Turns out this strange mark gives Rokudou the power of attracting women.(I think this would probably be the world’s greatest superpower in all honesty) However this mark is strangely selective with the women it attracts. The manga calls them bad girls, or delinquents. I am guessing this means they are a bit thuggish or gangster in nature, but I could be wrong. After he realizes that he seems to be attracting a specific personality concerning women, to which he is afraid of them. Oh did I forget to mention the main character is the weak protagonist stereotype. I am honestly curious why this is a thing with manga or anime in general, when in my opinion Japan has a pretty strong warrior culture. So I would assume they would consider themselves strong also, but maybe I am thinking too much into this. 

But anyway next he meets the first “main girl” of the series, her name is Ranna Himawari. And I guess she was star struck or something when she looked at Rokudou with that mark. Because, next thing you know she transfers to his school and is even in his class.(If this happened to me, I am not sure if I would be flattered or concerned for my safety.) Turns out Himawari is some sort of badass, like I mean she completely obliterates this group of guys, who should definitely be dead from those kinds of injuries.

If your girl doesn’t have mean hook like this dump her

Next it seems that Rokudou is a bit overwhelmed by all that has happened, and is just wondering why can’t he just have a happy life.( we’re all wondering this about ourselves bud). A classmate by the name of Iinuma is bullying Rokudou, at this point I think they are setting him up to be his first rival. He kinda bullies Rodokou and it seems that this happens a lot to him, and now I guess is the best time as any that he wants to become manlier. Iinuma beats up Rokudou pretty badly and so Rokudou asks for help from Himawari, and wow she kicks Iinuma’s ass. After this Iinuma seems to have a change of heart and wants to become friends with Rokudou.

Side Note: I have never understood this about manga, if I ever took a beating like the kind in manga and anime, there is zero chance we’re friends after.

A person by the name of Osanada has noticed the attention that Rokudou has been receiving as of late. This part was actually pretty funny to me, I don’t know what I was expecting based on how they described this person. But what was revealed certainly wasn’t who I thought it would be, the big bad Osanada actually turns out to be a small girl. But omg this tiny human is a beast when it comes to fighting. Her looks are very misinforming, and makes me question how such a tiny body is able to generate so much power. If you haven’t guessed yet but since Osanada is a girl who is also bad, guess who she ends of liking. If you guessed Iinuma your wrong it’s actually Rokudou, and it’s actually her first crush.(There is this really funny scene I won’t spoil here).

Warning Osanada not to be messed with

Rokudou is on a mission to turn bad girls that like him into good law abiding citizens. Since the class had to decide on a class project that is due, he chooses to observe plants. I would probably be down for this, I myself like plants. But it turns out the class doesn’t want to do this because they are all delinquents, so I guess they aren’t allowed to like things of this nature. But they change their mind when Osanada has something to say about it. And the funny thing here is that the class actually enjoyed observing the plants, it was a pretty refreshing chapter that reminds people, you never know what you enjoy until you try it.

Some of these people faces lol

Next we get a taste of Osanada’s backstory and it seems that she, despite her size has always been very strong. One of the guys in her “crew” noticed this and became her full time underling, he wants her to join some alliance. Osanada is on the cusp of joining this group of bad people when Rokudou breaks into the hideout to rescue her(its so dramatic too haha). This alliance is actually called the Onishima alliance and Rokudou, Himawari, and Osanada fight them. Rokudou, not a fighter gets his butt kicked again. They end up escaping by putting oil on the floor so the bad guys can’t chase them. After all that everything settles down for a bit, and they have a relaxing bonding day.

I’ll be a bit more brief with the next arc, I didn’t really care for it. They introduce a new girl who loves motorbikes. She is chasing some guy that is literally fighting people on bikes while riding much faster than the presumed speed limit. Turns out she’s also a bad girl who thinks of Rokudou as her charming prince. A bunch of people end up in the hospital and there is a small ride scene at the end. Also while I didn’t care much for this little story, there is a really touching end part to it that I was still able to admire.

I ride a bike to work, this was me the first month

After all that, we get another bonding chapter and we get to see Himawari in normal clothes. In my honest opinion she could probably be a model, she definitely has the look. Next, Rokudou still has the Onishima Alliance’s attention and now they want to fight him exclusively I presume. Upon finding this out Rokudou’s class gets a new unexpected six transfer students(I wonder if transferring is actually this easy in Japan). Within the six transfer students are a set of twins, that have a bit of a surprise that I won’t spoil. The six are led by this guy who has this unique ability to tell if someone is lying from just looking at them. He tries this on Himawari and utterly fails. Right after this Rokudou and his closest friends are heading home and the trio splits up, one of his friends is then attacked and they break his fingers in a really disrespectful way, I honestly felt bad for the guy.

The transfer students

End thoughts

I recently came across this manga and have found myself liking almost all of what I have read. There are some really funny parts here that I didn’t want to spoil so keep an eye out for those. Overall I think this manga might be a small diamond in the rough, it feels a bit old school and new at the same time. I will continue reading, I can’t wait to see who poor Rokudou ends up with at the conclusion. I hope you enjoyed what you have read in the review and will read, buy, and support this manga as you can.

Rating: 7.5/10

Categories
Cartoons TV

Harley Quinn Season One – The Harley I always wanted

There will be Spoilers!

Can I be honest here, this is the Harley Quinn that I always wanted. To my knowledge, Ms. Quinn  was created in the early 90s and has had quite the staying power for what I would consider a sidekick. I am not really sure where this version of Harley originated, it could have come from the comics or the DC movies in recent times. I think I first noticed this version of her in the suicide squad movie but I could be wrong. Either way I prefer her Joker-less than her ever being with him, I think it is super refreshing that her personality is her own now(although I feel strong similarities to Deadpool).

One more thing before I get into talking about the season. Did anyone else not even know this show existed? Because I sure didn’t, the only reason I even came across this show was because I watched a small youtuber mention it offhandedly. And on top of that why is DC so reserved with promoting their streaming service, if they would have advertised it appropriately I would likely have been watched this series.

A few different versions of Harley Quinn. Link

I really liked how the first episode of season one sets the tone with Harley’s character, where it shows what it is going to be focused on. Episode one starts strong with what I assume the writers were going for which is, “hey you know what we should do? Lets break up Harley and Joker, and move on from there”. I had heard very little of this series prior to watching, so I was not expecting this. And I won’t spoil what happened but I will say it is how they did it,  it definitely hits a little closer to home than one would think especially concerning toxic relationships.

Side Note: I really like this incarnation of Poison Ivy, not sure if it is new or old but I still like it alot.

After all that Harley wants to join the Legion of Doom, which to be honest is an ok plot for a while, but I think they could have went elsewhere with the story and still be just as good. Like I get why they used this story point, because Joker was part of the Legion and this was a way to show how she could possibly break out of his shadow, which like I said is fine. One thing I will say at this point is that, so far I really enjoy the character interactions in this show. Also I feel that the most important part in a tv series is banter between characters, this makes or breaks the show for me at least.

The next episode which is the third episode so far is setting up to which I think is probably the best part of the show in general. This is the episode where Harley decides to form a crew, so she can start being taken seriously as a legit bad guy. Which I am not sure why she was not taken serious in the first place, she openly commits murder as she pleases. But anyway she manages to recruit Dr. Psycho who now needs a crew because he was kicked out of the Legion because he used the “C” word. Anyone who is reading this and is not from the U.S., how bad is that word seen where you are from. I know here stateside it is worse to say this, more than almost all profanity. The other highlight of this episode was that she recruited Clayface, who is one of my more enjoyed characters, everyone needs a friend like Clayface.

As far as episode four, it was ok. I’m not really a fan of Damian Wayne “Robin”, I think his character is generally super underwhelming considering he is Batman’s legit blood son. But they did introduce King Shark who is a nice guy despite being a terrifying shark person.

Gangs all here

Episode five was pretty good, we got a deep dive into Harley’s mind, and I mean literally. Theres actually some good stuff here and some pretty less good stuff. Like the topic of crushes we had when we were younger comes up, and it’s just as cringe worthy and a little on the side of disturbing as you expect from a hardcore childhood crush.The main plot however, is the origin story of Harley, which was more intense that I thought they would go. It was definitely a more serious take on who she really is. What I mean by this is, at least from what I got from the episode was that Harley is her own problem, she is the root of everything bad to her, but I could be wrong. Also the Landlord guy in the previous episode comes back as a minor character that is very odd and most likely a serial killer of some kind.

Episode six is one of my least favorite episodes, it focuses on Commissioner Gordon:

If your job makes you look like this, its time to quit lol

Like I mean look at the guy, this incarnation of him is just ugh. But whatever the plot is he kinda broke up with Batman in a sense, and Clayface’s severed hand bonds with Gordon. The crew attempts to get the hand back most of the episode, and there is something about a villain critic. Overall, not a great episode.

Next is kind of a weird episode or at least I think so. Harley breaks Queen of Fables out of prison for her to join the team and I mean damn the lady is evil. And I don’t mean cartoonish evil, she is kinda vile, but overall still seems like somebody you would want to hangout with. There’s this plot about Harley learning what it takes to be a real villain which is where the Queen comes in to teach, but I mean her methods are way over the top. And Harley and her crew also think the same because they kick her out of the crew.

Episode eight was ok, we even got a chance to see Aquaman in this one. The reason for this is because Harley decided to steal one of the Atlantis jewels, to which Aquaman was not happy. Lex Luthor invites Harley to join the Legion of Doom which is what Harley really wanted, so this is an attempt to tie up that loose end. But Ivy discovers that it is actually her that Lex wants to join with Harley just being an accessory. Then Harley and Ivy get into an argument, which feels more bitter than I thought it would. I’m sure most can relate to getting into an argument with a friend and not being on good terms for a bit.

Episode nine is a bit of a downer full of deceit and broken promises. It shows how strong the Joker’s influence on Harley is and how toxic his effects are when it comes to her actions. I don’t like this episode not because it isn’t good but because it’s just kind of a down episode. Harley’s crew being treated like crap, Ivy getting let down, it’s just a trudge to get through.

The next episode continues where the previous ended, everything is still in pretty poor shape overall. Harley goes back home for a bit but some people sort of close to her die. Theres a plot involving a hit placed on Harley, which I think was kind of stupid to put in a show like this. I mean, be real here was that actually going to be successful with the name of the show being “Harley Quinn”. But anyway Ivy is in trouble and needs Harley’s help before it is too late.

What is even happening here?

And the crew gets back together, jeez finally I was starting to get worried. The episodes for the last few haven’t been the best in my opinion. I get it and all, like the previous couple of episodes are more of character builders than anything. But I guess they served their purpose because I’m glad the gang’s all back together. However there is a twist to the reunion, its only because ivy is in trouble. To be honest there are quite a lot of moving parts here, from Ivy being captured, to her mind journey this time around, the topic of abandonment issues comes up, Scarecrow is still one of the better DC villains. I think this episode really solidifies Harley and Ivy’s friendship thing they got going on, a pretty enjoyable episode.

Episode 12 here is action packed and leading to the finale but let’s not rush here, there are some old acquaintances here to say HI. Scarecrow’s plan is actually succeeding here with murder trees running around everywhere. And we get to see the freaking Justice League appear, but be prepared  they may be different than what your accustomed to. There is some fairytale business going on here which I thought was pretty fun, and Kite Man gets some more screen time. Oh did I forget to mention him, he and Ivy are dating, most of the scenes he is in are kinda funny. But the humor doesn’t last long as the Joker kills Ivy. *insert gasp*

And here is the final episode of season one ladies & gentleman, & whoever else, we are finally here. And if you remember from last time Ivy is actually dead, which sucks because she is easily the second best character of the show, only being outshined by Harley herself. But yes here we are, finding ourselves at her funeral, so sad. Now Joker’s master plan is complete (yes he wins), but he now finds himself bored, go figure. Harley’s crew is in trouble and she decides to save them; she will sacrifice herself to the Joker. But once the crew is saved, she goes after the Joker but fails, and is about to be dropped into acid. But at the last moment Ivy returns and saves her, I have some questions here but whatever I am glad she’s back, I missed her. Lastly Joker is defeated, Gotham is in ruins, the gangs back together, a typical day in the life of Harley Quinn if you think about it.

A pretty normal day for them actually

Rating: 9/10

This show was a blast for me, makes me want more as soon as it’s over.

Categories
Hip hop Music

Underground Vol.1 (1991-1994) – Nostalgic Without Having Prior Experience

Artist: Three Six Mafia

Album: Underground Vol.1: (1991-1994)

Nostalgia is a weird concept, or at least this is what I believe it to be. The official definition of nostalgia is, “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” The word itself from my understanding stems from a place that is built into or buried within human emotions.

The emotions I would guess most likely would either be attached to something memorable regardless of whether it is positive or negative. But specifically when talking about the word nostalgia, in this context I would assume that it concerns itself with happy memories.

The 90s just looks so cool

With that being said I found it weird that when listening to this album I was experiencing nostalgia even though I had never heard the majority of the material. I think this may be due to music sampling, I say this because I am from the southern area of states in the U.S. I think I may have heard parts or pieces of the theses songs during my formative years without me realizing it until now.

his album starts with a laid back track called, “Ridin’ In Da Chevy Pt. 2”. Which as soon as I heard it, I knew that I had listened to this song being sampled in even today’s music scene, though mostly underground. The project continues to deliver banger after banger, hit after hit.

Highlights in my opinion are:

Ridin’ In Da Chevy Pt. 2
Niggaz Ain’t Barin’ Dat
Chargin’ These Hoes
Paul With Da 45
Mask and Da Glock
Yeah, They Done Fucked Up
Fuck All Dem Hoes

I realize that I just listed quite a few songs from the album(mixtape) but I think that speaks to how strong it is as a musical body of work it actually is. While I don’t necessarily think all the songs on the album are great, I do feel even the bad ones have their place since they try something different. For example “Now I’m High, Really High” sounds almost evil in the way the words almost swirl along water smoothness of the beat.

I did some looking into the old school Memphis, TN rap scene which is where the group Three Six Mafia originate from. And found that they were not actually the genesis behind the conception of this form of rap style. I checked out other songs from that time period, and from my listening it seems while they didn’t invent this style, they definitely came the closest to perfecting it.

Yup they fit the bill of making a dark sounding album

One thing I must note is that I feel this album is more focused on the listening experience sonically and not driven by outstanding lyrical ability. Most of the songs seem to be loops or words or small phrases with some verses sprinkled here and there. This is more of a take on music that you would commit crime to (please don’t), or maybe smoke and drink (in moderation preferably). With that being said if you are someone who really only listens to music for lyrical ability this may not be for you.

Regardless of the down sides of the album it was still pretty influential from my understanding. I looked to see who and what songs were sampled from the album since it came out. Which is pretty amazing how large that collection of songs is, considering the material was recorded in the early 90s of hip hop, this means it has truly lasted the test of time.

This album has piqued my curiosity about the music coming from that region during that time period. Underground Vol.1 was a joy of a hip hop experience, much different than what was coming out and selling well during that time period. Which was mainly east and west coast artists. I wonder if when the material for the album was recorded if they knew they were making an influential album. 

Classic / 10