Archive for April 2015

Movies I’ve Seen – March/April 2015   3 comments

A preface if you’ll indulge me. Watching this latest movie this afternoon made me rethink how I go about the theater experience. I’ll be watching the movies I want to watch from now on. Movie reviews should not dissuade me. Hype, popularity and obscurity will not factor in my decision, for or against them. I’ve never walked out of the theater ever and always try to find redeeming qualities in every movie I’ve seen. I rarely do the latter.

March and April have been slow months for my movie watching. Despite all the other movies I could have watched (Cinderella, Insurgent and Home), I only saw three movies and one on TV.

1. CHAPPiE – This was the only movie I saw in March. Based on the director’s past films (District 9, Elysium), I expected a similar premise. CHAPPiE is the name of the police robot unit that it’s creator (Dev Patel – from Slumdog Millionaire) modified with new software containing artificial intelligence. Hugh Jackman’s character (Wolverine) is a jealous robot creator in the same company who wants his militarized police unit on the field instead of the others. When he learned of CHAPPiE’s existence, he sabotaged the entire police robot unit’s programming to show off his own. There’s also the bit about Die Antwoord’s involvement with the movie and existential concepts. Overall, it was an OK movie.

2. Furious 7 – I gotta say, this movie was all action, unrealistic stunts and super lucky individuals surviving falls and hits to the head that would kill someone. Yet, in the last five minutes, I teared up. For those who have not been keeping up with the movie, The 4th, 5th and 6th films in the franchise happens between the 2nd and 3rd film (Tokyo Drift). Jason Statham is Ian Shaw: the brother of the 6th film’s bad guy who takes revenge on everyone and kills Han first in Japan. They retooled the story so that Han’s death was caused by Jason Statham’s character rather than a freak accident in Tokyo Drift. The entire movie is about them protecting themselves and teaming up with another secret government organization to hunt down Shaw. It was an entertaining movie. It was the proper send off to Paul Walker’s character.

3. Django Unchained (2012) – One thing about Quentin Tarantino movies is that he’s never shy about profanity. This film has lots of them, including old-school backwards and slavery terms. Jamie Foxx’s plays Django, a former slave freed by Christoph Waltz’s bounty hunter character. Django learns the bounty hunting trade while looking for his wife. It’s a Western movie with over-the-top violence and profanity-laden dialogue. In my opinion, these take a backseat to Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio’s acting. Samuel L. Jackson also plays a convincing Uncle Ruckus-type character (a black guy who hates black people). Dark comedy at it’s finest.

4. Age of Adaline – I could have watched Unfollowed, Ex Machina or Home, but I thought I’d watch this one instead. I was intrigued by the premise. Blake Lively plays Adaline Bowman. At age 29, Adaline had a car accident. The car crashed into the water off the road along with Adaline. While submerged in the freezing water, her heart stopped and she was dead for 2 minutes. Then lightning struck the water and revived Adaline. This freak event caused Adaline to stop aging. She changes her identity and moves to different locations to avoid suspicion. Ellen Burstyn plays Adaline’s old daughter. Harrison Ford plays an old lover of Adaline’s. Great acting from the cast.

I’m done.

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Posted April 26, 2015 by StupidSystemus in Movies

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Assassin Turned Templar   Leave a comment

Assassin’s Creed Rogue is the standalone Assassin’s Creed (AC) game released in 2014 along with Assassin’s Creed Unity. Within the franchise’s timeline, Rogue is the direct sequel to Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and the prequel to Assassin’s Creed III, with the last mission being the prologue to Assassin’s Creed Unity. Rogue is set during the Seven Years’ War between Great Britain and France.

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Unlike other AC games, Rogue follows Shay Patrick Cormac, a former pig farmer from New York of Irish descent during colonial times. He worked with the Colonial Assassins around this time with a younger Achilles Davenport as the brotherhood’s mentor (from AC 3). In search of Precursor sites (ancient sites from “Those Who Came Before” men), Shay grew resistant to how the Assassins’ gather intel and the killing of people who couldn’t defend themselves.

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His last mission as an Assassin to obtain the Precursor artifact from under an old church in Lisbon drove Shay to turn his back on the brotherhood. After stealing the manuscript holding the location of Precursor sites and shot in the back during his escape, he was found by the Templars. He helped the Templars in a few missions before his official induction into the Order of the Colonial Rite by their Grand Master, Haytham Kenway (also from AC3). Shay’s story shows us how Achilles’ Colonial Assassins Brotherhood ended.

As a gamer, you are playing as a new Abstergo Entertainment employee in the present day, tasked with studying and reliving Shay Cormac’s genetic memories through the Animus. It looks like several months have passed since members of the modern Assassins infiltrated Abstergo Entertainment (events in AC 4: Black Flag). The present day gameplay is the same as in AC 4: Black Flag.

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As far as the game is concerned, Rogue is everything that you experienced in AC 3 and AC 4: Black Flag. Controls are still the same as the last two main AC games. Shay has two pistols and fights with a sword and long knife combo. There are three main locations which you have access to: The Northern Atlantic, River Valley (Hudson) and New York.

I haven’t played AC Unity, but I’ve seen the gameplay videos and know of the entire story. Rogue should have been a longer game rather than a companion game to Unity. Shay’s story felt very rushed (only 6 memory sequences compared to the normal 12 memory sequences in most AC games). At the same time, Shay’s adventures were in-line with the modern Templars (Abstergo) objective. Their purpose was to prove that the Assassins are wrong and show why an Assassin became a Templar. As for the story, Rogue shows us that the Assassins are not always right. Shay felt responsible for all the deaths that they have caused trying to retrieve Precursor artifacts and betrayed the Assassin Brotherhood to save the world.

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If you enjoy watching Let’s Play videos on YouTube, I’ve recorded my walkthrough of the game from start to finish, focusing on the main story mission.

I’m done.

Posted April 21, 2015 by StupidSystemus in Games, Reviews

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Nanoblock – Moai Statues of Easter Island   3 comments

One of the gifts my sibling gave me from Christmas. I just got around to building it. The Moai Statues of Easter Island set is not too difficult to build and not too complex. It does require making 3 Moai heads.

These monolithic statues can be as tall as 33 ft. and as heavy as 86 tons. They were original carved from volcanic rock by colonizers of the Polynesian island between 1250 CE and 1500 CE. There’s not much else written on the packing about the the Moai Statues, so I read up on the subject.

It is not known exactly how these statues were moved across the island from the origin of the volcanic rock they got it from and were remnants of these statues are located now. The Rapa Nui created them to represent deceased ancestors and former chiefs. Some time later in their civilization, the Rapa Nui lost order when they completely cut down all trees in the island. They could not build boats for fishing and food became scarce. Various tribes started fighting each other and toppled down statues of rival clans.

Today, about 50 of the 887 statues are intact and have been re-erected at the preservation site. 11 Moai statues have been removed from Easter Island and shipped to various museums and installations around the world to show this mysterious relic with a tragic connection to the now extinct Rapa Nui civilization.

I’m done.

Posted April 11, 2015 by StupidSystemus in Building Toys, Timelapse, Video

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Stevie Wonder   1 comment

My parents are watching Stevie Wonder for the Songs in the Key of Life concert in Baltimore next week. They asked me if I wanted to go back in February, but I declined. It’s on Thursday and I don’t know how busy work can get yet. I probably should have, though.

The first memory I have of Stevie Wonder is the “Part Time Lover” song. I was less than 5 years old and the song was catchy. I didn’t understand the lyrics, but I still like it.

My mom asked me to burn her a CD of Stevie Wonder songs. She listed 28 songs, in order of which one can fit in one CD. I suggested to just make 2 CDs and add a few more songs. There are so many hit songs to choose from 5 decades worth of albums. “Overjoyed” and “Lately” are my favorites in all his songs. “Lately” I associate the most when I was 12 years old. The lyrics paint an infidelity story, but it’s the chorus that touches me the most.

Well, I’m a man of many wishes
Hope my premonition misses
But what I really feel my eyes won’t let me hide
‘Cause they always start to cry
‘Cause this time could mean goodbye

My mom had to leave for a job here in the US and listening or hearing the song made me lonely. “Lately” is also one of her favorite songs.

So now, I have an iTunes full of Stevie Wonder songs 🙂

I’m done.

Posted April 3, 2015 by StupidSystemus in Musings

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