Future stuff.

Another day, another thing for the internet to be a little mad about. In this case it’s about a video game set in the future when humans are transforming their bodies using technology. The game in question, Cyberpunk 2077, has revealed that you will not be able to pick a “Male” or a “Female” character at the start of the game. 

At first, maybe this sounds a little odd. When you think about it a little more and especially in the context of the world that Cyberpunk 2077 is set in, it makes perfect sense. They are making a character creator within their game that allows you to mix and match body type’s and voices to make the character exactly how you want them. So, you can make a 7-foot, huge behemoth of a man, and have him sound like a girl. It will probably lead to some very interesting creations in the game, with so much freedom, but it can also allow for you to just make a woman or man if that’s how you want to play it.

The game is based on an old-style tabletop role playing game, meaning normally you would create a character to represent you in that format of the game. With this game they are clearly trying to allow you to go to that same level of extreme detail and make the exact character you want. If you want to make an exact recreation of yourself in this world, you can now do that whatever gender you identify as. As far as I can tell, it only makes the game more inclusive, and that’s no bad thing.

Cyberpunk 2077 is probably my most anticipated game since Grand Theft Auto 5. The games developer, CD Project Red, have shown in recent years they are excellent at huge open worlds with interesting characters. The Witcher 3 was an incredible feat, widely acknowledged as one of the best games of this generation. I played it for 30-something hours, and I enjoyed it, but it didn’t quite grab me enough to warrant the hundreds of hours required to really get through the bulk of that games content. With Cyberpunk, they have completely got me. I have never seen a game even attempt the things they are doing with their world building, and the futuristic, Blade Runner inspired future they are creating looks like it’s going to be a load of fun to play around in.

From one fictional future to another (sort of), the latest Terminator: Dark Fate trailer dropped over night and I am not sure how to feel about this film. It looks fun, but the Terminator franchise has a mixed history and in recent years it’s been failure after failure for me. The storyline’s have become too convoluted and I am not sure anyone is sure where things were left. This film appears to be ignoring the majority of the films and just going with the comprehensible story from T1 and T2. Terminator 2 stands out to me as the best film in the franchise by so far that it’s makes the later films irrelevant. That film is one of the best movies ever made, and it still holds up today.

The decision for the franchise to return to that storyline and redevelop it from there should make for an interesting movie. Dark Fate looks good, however so did a lot of the other sequels we have had. I remember seeing trailers for T3 and thinking it’s going to be the best movie ever. I was only 9 or 10 at the time, but still. It looked so cool. Of course, what we got was odd at best, and although it has its moments it never for a second felt like it was fit to follow the greatness of Terminator 2.

My hope is that Dark Fate can take us back to that feel. I am not saying it needs to be better than its predecessor’s to be worthwhile, of course not, but it needs to be a fun ride and have some cool action sequences, whilst giving us a healthy dose of nostalgia. It’s not very often a franchise can survive three stumbles, so for me this is the final chance for a Terminator sequel. If this doesn’t work, I can see them scrapping this world, and leaving it 5 years before rebooting the franchise with The Rock.

After writing that thinking it’s ridiculous, maybe I am onto something. It also reminds me I really need to get to a cinema soon and check out Hobbs and Shaw, that movie looks like a ridiculous film, and I am all about it.

Also why has there not been a Back to the Future film in my lifetime. Back to the Future 3 came out in 1990. We are approaching 30 years and there’s not movement on a sequel with Marty McFly’s kids? Or a film where a couple of late teens today find the Delorean in some old shed, and then when they floor it they end up in 1995 and their parents are walking about in shell suits and Friends is a relevant show and not super awkward to watch like it is now.

Hollywood are sleeping on this one.

Anyway, that’s all from me for today, have a great weekend! Unless you’re a spurs fan in which case I hope we (Arsenal) absolutely batter your team.

‘Til Monday!

ChAzJS

Jokers, Offended People and The Nine Nine (9-9!)

Yesterday lunch time I watched through a new comedy special that had just hit Netflix. It was the latest effort from well renown comedian Dave Chappelle, someone I know of, but have never watched. I had no idea what to expect but I found it to be funny, not mind blowing but alright.

A lot of comedians aim their jokes at socially taboo topics like the LGBT community or different classes, and Chappelle does exactly that and even takes aim at the Michael Jackson scandal. This has predictably led to a lot of varied reaction on the internet. Who would have thought it, people are offended on the internet.

Personally, I am not offended by any jokes, because they’re jokes. As far as I am concerned when you buy a ticket and sit down for a comedy show, everything is okay to make fun of, because that is why you’re there. Stand-up comedy is the place where it should be okay to make the jokes that aren’t as acceptable in a social situation. Within the realm of streaming services like Netflix, you have the choice of hundreds of comedy specials and you can watch them as and when you please.

It’s pretty obvious from the first five minutes of Dave Chappelle’s stand up that it’s going to be hitting pretty hard. Dave goes straight in with satirical commentary on Anthony Bourdain’s suicide and making light of suicidal thoughts. If you watch that part and you laugh, sit back and enjoy the rest of the show. At times it seems like he is saying things for shock value, but there are some funny bits in there.

However, if you click on this like me, with no real idea of what Dave Chappelle’s comedy is like, and then instead of enjoying it, you find the first five minutes to not be funny at all, turn it the fuck off. Its 2019, its on Netflix, you have complete control over what you are watching. press back, find something else. Jump over to Amazon, or Now TV, or HBO, or any of the hundreds of cable TV channels.

I understand not everyone is like me, some people are sensitive to topics and they choose to be offended when comedians make jokes about those things. If that’s how you are, that is completely fine, but take some responsibility and manage your own viewing habits. If you get a few minutes into a stand up special, get that hint of it not being to your taste, and then sit there for another hour and listen to more things you find offensive, that is simply not the comedian’s fault. It’s your fault for watching it when you knew it wasn’t for you. Nothing is made to please everyone.

On the subject of comedians, but this time a fictional, failing comedian, the final trailer for Todd Phillips’ Joker movie dropped last night. As I have mentioned several times on this site, I absolutely adore the character of the Joker. He is my favourite fictional character, The Dark Knight is my favourite movie, Mark Hamill’s Joker voiced my childhood watching Batman the Animated Series et cetera.

So, this new dark and gritty Joker origin story should be right up my street, right? Well it’s not a surprise at all that I am absolutely all in for this movie. Joaquin Phoenix is a phenomenally talented actor, and all signs point to this performance earning him some Awards buzz. It’s quite validating as a big Joker fan that the character has now drawn Oscar level performances out of two actors.

The trailers slow build, the imagery and the hints of the character descent into madness is exactly what I want to see from a film like this, and the recently announced R rating for the film says to me that they are not going to be pulling any punches and will be letting The Joker go full crazy in the later parts of the film.

The main concern I have for this movie is the lack of batman. A lot of Jokers best moments in his long history have relied upon him playing with Batman’s mind and manipulating the people he cares about. Without that element to play with, I am intrigued what kind of story they’re going to tell.

Onto a more light-hearted topic, lately I have been watching through Brooklyn 99 again. My word what a stupidly funny show it is. If you have never watched it, treat yo’ self and watch a couple of episodes. It’s perfect for having on in the background whilst doing something else like writing a blog. It’s so consistent that every time you pause to watch for a minute or two, you find yourself laughing at something. Andre Braugher as Raymond Holt is simply incredible. He is the ultimate comedic straight man, whilst the others around him, particularly Andy Samberg’s Jake Peralta, are constantly making quips and one liner’s.

I feared a second watch through might cause the humour to grow a little stale, but it doesn’t. I have just garnered a new appreciation for some of the other elements of the show like Hitchcock and Scully. It reminds me of the US version of The Office in that although the situations are sometimes quite funny in themselves, often it’s the characters you grow to appreciate, and you just want to see more of them living their lives.

There we have it, the second daily blog post done. Yesterday I did this 6am wake up to write thing for the first time and felt great about myself. Then I got up from my desk, strolled happily towards the bathroom only to smash my knee on the corner of my bed and yelp in agony.

So, I am off to avoid hard, sharp corners that live at knee height, and you should too. Til tomorrow!

ChAzJS

 

 

From Skywalkers to Disney Remakes

Been a while! I’ve not been very active on here for a while due to learning how to write a script for a film that nobody will ever see. Anyway, from now on, every weekday there will be a new post. I am not sure what most of them will be about, but I will make it up as I go. Probably just my ramblings about pop culture and whatever is in my head that morning. 

This week Taylor Swift released a new album, and through osmosis on twitter it has slowly worked its way into my Spotify playlist and to my shock I enjoyed listening to it. My music taste is quite eclectic, my 50 song playlist has a mix of Elton John, Bring Me the Horizon and Johnny Cash, but Swifts new albums “Lover” has managed to bury its way into my head and despite the cheesy lyrics I keep finding myself humming parts of the songs.

Pop music aside, I spent quite a long time over the last few days staring at the latest Star Wars footage and wondering why this crazy franchise means so much to me. I didn’t make any progress on that beyond me being a sad case. Now, Spoilers if you don’t want to know anything about episode 9 come back tomorrow! 

The latest footage comes at the end of a weird “trailer” that shows clips from all 8 episodes we’ve had in the last 40 years. With the year Disney has had so far, with Lion King, 3 Marvel films, and Aladdin just off the top of my head, they are already looking at one of the most successful years any Studio has ever had, so to still have an ace up their sleeve in the finale of the Star Wars Saga must make some very rich people very happy at the prospect of getting even richer.

As for the actual trailer itself, it leans heavy on the Skywalkers, which is understandable considering the next film is titled “The Rise of Skywalker”. What’s intriguing to my nerdy brain is that there is nobody with that name in the film, so the meaning of “Skywalker” could well be something different. I have managed to sell myself on the idea of “Skywalker” being the new name for people using the force. No more light or dark side, ruling over the galaxy, no good versus evil, but just a group of people who can use these special powers that all have their own lives and agendas.

That theory was all set-in place in my head right up until that last shot of the trailer where we see Rey with the that sweet sweet double sided lightsaber. It’s one incredibly striking image, and a cool looking weapon design, but quite what it means I am not sure. There are a million theories around, as there always is with Star Wars trailers, but I am now entering the time when I want to stop paying attention. I want to go into this film with no idea of what is going to happen, and this taster was just a little bit too much info for me. So, it’s black out for now, I am going to try and avoid spoilers like the plague as in December I will be seeing a Star Wars Saga film for potentially the last time.

I mean it’s definitely not the last “Episode” film, these things make way too much money and in 10 years’ time they will be rocking up to Daisy Ridley & Co’s doors with a lorry full of cash to get them to get back into the costumes and bring another trilogy. This will be an end of sorts for Star Wars though, with the next few years looking like it will be stories from the universe, but not necessarily connected to the Skywalker story.

All that about Star Wars and cinematic things, but I haven’t been to the cinema for the longest stretch in the last 5 years. It’s been weeks since I saw Lion King and Toy Story 4. I should probably go into a little of my thoughts on those.

Well, first up, the Lion King fell flat with me, and yet I still loved watching it. Lion King suffers from a distinct lack of originality in the film except for one joke made by the films shining stars, Timon and Pumbaa. Perhaps its unwise to hope for something original in a remake of a film I have seen perhaps hundreds of times, but with Disney’s Jungle Book there was just enough different stuff to make me feel like it was a new, worthwhile experience.

Lion King is essentially the exact same film that was released in the nineties but with 4k visuals and less emotions portrayed on the animals faces for the sake of realism. It’s not a bad film, and if you somehow made it this far in life without seeing the original Lion King, it will be a brilliant experience. Unfortunately, most of the world has seen the original film countless times, and a lot of people have seen an excellently put together stage play so this remake felt unremarkable for me.

Onto Toy Story 4, and I find myself repeating some of the same ideas I had about the Lion King. Again, it’s a very well made, perfectly executed movie that felt like it wasn’t really needed, but for different reasons. This is not a remake of the original Toy Story, far from it, and it relies heavily on your knowledge of the previous 3 films to tug on the heartstrings. To give credit where credit is due, there are some nice, cute moments along with sad, gut wrenching ones that do give the film a level of emotional impact that Lion King just didn’t have for me.

The issue I had with Toy Story is while we get plenty of Woody, Bo Peep and the new endearing character Sporky, we get barely any of the old group of toys. The new characters introduced are funny, and I liked all of them, but I wanted them to be introduced to the entire cast I grew up loving, rather than just Woody.

Perhaps these two films were aimed too close at things I loved as a child. The Lion King and Toy Story are films I remember watching hundreds of times on repeat in between repeats of Return of the Jedi. Is that a sad vision into my childhood? Maybe. But it led me to becoming obsessed with films. The other film I remember watching a lot were the original Pink Panther movies, and of course every preteens favourite, Kill Bill. I always wanted to be able to do that Five Point Palm Exploding Heart thing, and dress entirely in Yellow Leather.

So, in summary, my childhood heroes were Luke Skywalker, Woody, and Uma Thurman. Until Tomorrow!

ChAzJS