Netflix Pick: Let The Right One In

I typically do not subscribe to films with the horror element. Zombies, vampires, and serial killers have become (or maybe always were) campy in my opinion. That is why when I first heard of a Swedish film with subtitles about a bullied boy who develops a friendship with a vampire child I was less than interested. But this movie surprised me, it really has a lot of heart (and gore to match).

I decided to watch this film based heavily on a short clip I saw where a man was draining an upside-down teenagers blood and the high pedigree of similar foreign films. Plus it’s on Netflix, so win-win. According to Wiki, Let the Right One In is a 2008 Swedish romantic horror film directed by Tomas Alfredson. Based on the 2004 novel of the same title by John Ajvide Lindqvist, who also wrote the screenplay, the film tells the story of a bullied 12-year-old boy who develops a friendship with a vampire child in Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm, in the early 1980s.

Unlike the book, which I have never read, director Tomas Alfredson opted to focus more on the relationship between Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) and vampire Eli (Lina Leandersson, voice: Elif Ceylan) rather than the gore elements for the film. Which was a superb move. Oskar and Eli both are misunderstood youths; whom, other than one being a vampire, are similar. Oskar dreams of getting revenge against his peers that bully him. And not punch in the face revenge, but rather the type that ends in pints of pooling blood. Eli being a vampire relies on blood, but it is evident she does not choose murder but instead requires it. The two befriend each other in a dark and lonely playground in front of their adjacent apartments.

As the film progresses Oskar slowly learns Eli’s true identity and unlike most is drawn to her even more. This innocent but very un-innocent love budding between the two is the glue to an otherwise typical vampire film. Without ruining the film for you I will say that he looks beyond her differences in search of a friend and companion, and she repays him tenfold.

Let The Right One In, or Låt den Rätte Komma In, proves once again that foreign films have the most heart. I don’t know what it is about American cinema right now (yes I do, money), but aside from the independents and small budget pictures beautiful stories have been all but removed from the medium. An American version, Let Me In, starring the young starlet rising to huge fame Chloe Moretz is also out there but pales in comparison to the Swedish film. For those with Netflix click here to enjoy this beautiful macabre love story now.


Why I chose Deadpool over The Last of Us

I often make poor choices with my game purchases. I’m not even going to pretend that every game I buy is a winner. In fact, most of the video games I buy only last a short while before being tossed aside.

I do, however, make a wise choice from time to time. One that instead of being rushed by hype is slow and concise based upon my experience as a video game consumer. My decision to buy Deadpool instead of the Last of Us is one such occasion.

Few people will stand on my side of this argument but it is one that needs to be made. Gaming has been gutted and is swiftly turning into an extension of the film industry, and the Last of Us is the latest and greatest culprit.

Before I talk about why NOT the Last of Us let me first tell you WHY Deadpool. When I watched trailers of this game I laughed. Its got the crude humor of most games but unlike others Deadpool knows it. This game doesn’t hide its satire behind the medium, but rather it flaunts it and pokes fun at everything we gamers hold dear. From the idiotic controls demonstrations at the beginnings of games to the use of quick time events Deadpool has them and makes fun of them. In a lot of ways this is a celebration of what gaming has been to those of us that grew up with it, especially the trends of recent years. Deadpool features just about every mechanic from the action genre I can think of and doesn’t care if you notice. It was made to be fun.

Now for the why NOT for the Last of Us, because it was MADE to tell a story. That is not what a video game should be. From the very second of a games inception it should be about fun. A fantastic story is great but the fun you have playing it should be paramount. That is not to say that the Last of Us is not fun, but will you really argue with me that this was made to tell a cinematic story?

Some journalists would claim that the video game medium is in a golden age right now but I have a different picture to paint. When I look at the state of the gaming world right now I see two major flaws.

1. We are taking ourselves far too seriously

2. The fun has been sucked out

Now, it takes no genius to figure out that these two flaws are related, VERY related. Don’t get me wrong, I love great story-telling. In fact I have written countless reviews wherein I praise games that feature a rich story. However, as I look at the industry as a whole I have seen an unfortunate trend building in the larger titles of late.

The issue is that the major publishers in the gaming industry see the successes of games similar to the Last of Us and want to capitalize on that with well-conceived story heavy titles of their own. That in and of itself is no problem, but what has already begun to happen is the publishers seem to care less and less about how fun a game is. Video games with terrific stories can also be fun to play, just like the Last of Us, Metro Last Light and Bioshock Infinite, but are they the same kind of fun you had playing Super Mario World or Grand Theft Auto San Andreas? No, because unlike Mario and CJ they take themselves very seriously.

I don’t want to alienate myself here and claim that the Last of Us does not belong. That is not at all what I am trying to point out, I simply want people to see a game like Deadpool and realize that this is what has and always will making video games more enjoyable than movies. The ridiculous humor, constant homages, and use of almost every gaming mechanic simply make Deadpool a blast to play. And while the Last of Us is a great game, is it really a game at all? Or an interactive movie?

Case and point, should this be possible?

I know what you did last summer

Well here it is again. The official start of the summer. Most credit this day to a scientific fact or some such nonsense. I however mark the beginning of the summer with the end of championship season. The NBA and NHL seasons are over, with the Blackhawks and Heat winning their leagues. For myself, and many other sports fans, this is a rather dull time of the year.

What is there really to watch during the summer? Baseball? Ha! I think not. Unless I need a good nap of course.

Some of us will find our way into the outdoors. Spending the afternoon at the beach or shitty neighborhood pool. Others will re-watch every episode of The Game of Thrones just so they can cry at the Rains of Castemere all over again.

With this post-playoffs lull, no worthwhile new games and a serious lack of good television, I find myself revisiting old shows and favorite games rather than exercising like my body wants me to. “Please,” it begs “Wont you take me outside and jog? If only for a short while?” Though I remain vigilant and hold firm to my pleather office chair and modest gaming PC.

Here’s some sports related nudity for no reason at all. 

That wasn’t what you were expecting, was it? Just like those men flashing their penises to that ref I too am revisiting old favorites, but there are other things you can do to avoid the bore-suck-fest that is the summer.

  • Get Netflix and watch countless cartoons from your childhood or those weird shows your sisters were into but you mostly liked for the skin. I recommend Johnny Bravo, Ren and Stimpy, or Buffy (need I say more?)
  •  Learn to crotchet.
  • Get a dog and walk that dog.
  • Buy great old school games for new systems.
  • Play those old school games.
  • Get bored in twenty minutes of those old school games and complain to your friends about how Nintendo and EA are money hungry sluts.
  • Learn new masturbation techniques.
  • Get a dog.

These and many other activities can really bring joy to this otherwise depressing season.

A full year of sports

Hockey is a winter sport, having that at any other time of the year is just silly. But why not basketball? Therein lies my great idea. Why not push the NBA season back a couple of months? Imagine this:

Its September and the new NFL season is just starting up. You get a couple months of that before the NHL starts. But here where we mix things up. There is no NBA until the start of the new year. Thus pushing the season all the way into August, finishing just before the MLB playoffs but giving us plenty of man on man sweaty high flying b-ball  action all summer long. And when its over? A whole new NFL season starts. Under this new proposed sports scheduling model the avid sports fan like myself will never be bored. July will dominated by a different kind of ball game than it is used to. And imagine the kid filled crowds they would pull in during those summer nights! So you see there is money to be made for the league too! Write your congressman!

The future of the NBA 2K series

I am not a big fan of basketball, in fact I make it a point to completely avoid it during the regular season. However, being the sports fan I am its hard not to enjoy the thrill of the playoffs. This year in particular has been pretty edge of your seat.

From the heroics of Steph Curry to the surprising rise of the Indiana Pacers the 2013 NBA Playoffs have had their fair share of compelling story lines. All of this has led me to return to a game I am ashamed to admit is an addiction of mine: NBA 2K.

I have played each season’s iteration of this franchise for the past 6 years religiously for months on end. Eventually, around January, its grip gives way and I return to playing games that the general public would consider ‘OK’ to be addicted to. The general GAMING public at least. Well after watching a number of playoff games I started 2K13 back up again and I’ve been engulfed in the My Player mode. It is the shining star of the franchise in my opinion and a great example of what this type of game mode should be in all sports games. However, its downfalls got me to thinking about the future of 2K and what will be crucial to keep it fresh and enabling.

A Narrative

Every great game has some type of narrative. From simple things like saving a princess from a castle to massive worlds imagined by hundreds of thousands of people that are endlessly improved upon. Few games can accomplish greatness without a narrative, and that short list is usually on the cutting edge of ingenuity and fresh ideas. Repeating a basketball game each year is and never will be a ‘fresh’ idea. However, 2K can add new elements to the formula for an improved result.

My fellow 2K fan, allow me to paint you a hoops filled fantasy.

Getting Ready

You have just finished your first year of college ball, NBA scouts are (illegally) filling up your inbox with suggestions to join the greatest stage on earth. You take their advice and declare for the draft. What follows is a rigorous schedule of workouts, demonstrations and pick-up games to not only prove your worth but improve your game. You come out of this experience with just that, experience, which you use to build your player. As opposed to starting with a set rating outlook based upon the type of player for your position all stats are at 50. Now, there will need to be a scaling system so you cant go out and make your shooting lights out with little effort but the idea is sound. Instead of one stupid Rookie Showcase event envision a spring of preparation for the NBA draft.

Please read on>>

GET TO THE CHOPPA! – Thrash’s DayZ Diary

There it was, like a tender steak dangling in front of a starving man, the helicopter I had heard flying overhead (and heard so much about) but had never actually seen in person. It lie in the middle of a field with military zombies (the worst kind) surrounding it. Unfortunately it was in a heap, impregnating the air with a thick black smoke. However, this didn’t matter to me. For I had no idea how to pilot a whirly bird, but I could certainly loot it.

>> Please Read On…

DayZ Shiz

So I have been pretty lost in DayZ recently, the zombie mod for Arma 2, and loving it. Been dousing the addiction with Forza, AC3, and even a game that is not yet out but DayZ is right awesome so its winning most of my time. For those of you unaware check out this video (and the entire series really) to learn about the game and pick up on some strategy. Frankie is awesome, this is one of my favorite vids.

Game Informer GTAV Cover Story Scans

Today Game Informer released its December issue unto the world, the issue featuring an 18-page Grand Theft Auto V cover story. You can buy a digital copy of the mag from them via your Mac/PC or your mobile. However, gaming sites have uploaded scans of the article for those of you out their to cheap to fork over the cash. Gaming Everything has uploaded it via scans, I would do it too but A) I am lazy and B) legal issues. So instead I will lead you to their post so you can read the awesome feature from GI yourself. I warn you though the upload is kinda shit, and hard to navigate, if you want to own the screens yourself in an easy to read PDF format it is available here at the Pirate Bay (but you might wanna read this guide on pirating first). This download is absolutely safe and well done indeed.

Grand Theft Auto V sounds absolutely amazing. According to the article when including interior and exterior spaces the game world is larger than GTA: San Andreas, GTA IV, and Red Dead Redemption combined! That’s epic. I was thrilled to see parachutes and bicycles in the images as well, especially with the details that the game will feature an immense amount of non-mission content. Apparently Rockstar is expanding on the massive open-world advances made in Red Dead Redemption into GTAV. Again, epic.

Also, the game will feature three, not one, protagonists that you can switch at any time outside of missions. Epic, again. Of course, read the article and enjoy the screens, it looks to be another amazing GTA from Rockstar.

Must See: Savages

Every once and a while a movie surprises you, not with a plot twist, but with itself. Every once and a while a film – a beautiful film – is created with breathtaking imagery over a classic tale like the finest silks on an old chair. Every once and a while you love again.

>> Read the rest of this article

4chan Sends Gabe Newell a Birthday Card, and Charges Him For a Hat

Saturday was Gabe Newell’s 50th birthday and the fine folks of 4chan (from /video games/ specifically) sent Valve’s co-founder a massive card. Awesome

Some other /v/ers, visited Gabe and charged him two bucks to open a crate, that held a hat. Ah the lols, see it here.

The /v/ crew (with fake names >_>):

Found via Reddit

Pirating For Dummies

Time and again friends who aren’t so keen on technology will inquire as to where and how I downloaded a movie still in theaters and how I got the entire discography of the Beatles without spending a penny. I am a far cry from a tech wiz but I do know a thing or two about pirating and I guess they see me as a way to get things for free. However, quite often, they don’t want to do it themselves. Instead they would rather pay me to do it for them, which baffles me.  I do my best to describe it to them but a lot of times they look at me like a deer in headlights. So, realizing there might be a need for this I decided to create an easy to understand and follow guide to pirating your favorite games, movies and music off the web without getting caught.

>> Read the rest of this article