Logan Review

I’ve had about a week to let my thoughts on Logan percolate. Here they are.

(No spoilers in this review)

Darkening the Doorstep

Logan is centered around loss of many things, but it’s also undoubtedly about renewal as well. A renewal of relationships between characters and a renewal for the superhero movie genre. Don’t go into this movie expecting a fun time, cause you won’t get it. This film is tough to watch, and that’s not just due to the high level of violence. Logan deals with humanity on a level that no other superhero movie has done yet.

I wouldn’t even call Logan a superhero movie, although it’s unfortunately tied to the genre. There’s plenty of action and there’s a main villain, but I think those are just tropes that are being used to tell an incredible story of a human being who’s lost everything. Everything that happens in the film isn’t tossed in without some heavy thought.

This movie is dark, and although we’ve started to overuse that word, it still applies. This is the mature Wolverine movie that fans have been craving for years. Logan finally gets to use his claws like we’ve been hoping he would and drop those lovely words he loves using so much in the comics. I found this to be less convincing for Professor Xavier, who favored them just as much as Logan. Despite the heaviness of the film, there are plenty of hilarious moments sprinkled in. The amazing part is that these moments don’t disrupt the narrative flow of the movie. They feel natural, like they’re not written into the film as breaks from the gravity of the other parts.

A Child’s World

Logan deals with a world where children are just as much a part of the world as adults are. There are some gritty scenes involving children that will make you think about parallels between Logan’s world and ours and if we’re doing enough to protect our children. Adults’ actions don’t exist in a vacuum apart from what goes on in children’s lives.

This film isn’t preachy or overbearing in its content, it just tells a good story. There are a couple moments where it’s obvious people came up with the story; it’s kind of hard to escape that with the genre, but they feel real despite that. This movie is just really genuine all around, and I really appreciate that.

Act It Out

The acting in Logan is phenomenal, with both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart putting their all into their roles. Dafne Keen, who plays Laura, does a great job for her age and given the stoic nature of her role. All the supporting actors aren’t left in the dust either, with strong performances from basically everyone.

Even so, this film is very much Logan’s movie. Hugh Jackman does the character a huge service in his last appearance as the character before he lets someone else take on the role.

I walked away from this film a bit of a changed person and I think that’s what all good films should strive for. It made me reevaluate some things about my life and the lives of those around me. When it comes down to it, I couldn’t ask for more in a film. Go and watch it, but but be prepared to walk away with a few scars of your own.

5/5 Stars

Horizon Zero Dawn: Risking It All

I’ve been yearning for Horizon Zero Dawn for quite the while; it’s finally here in my PlayStation 4. I’ve spent a few hours with the game and these are my initial thoughts. 

Beauty In The Beast

Horizon Zero Dawn

All about stealth kills.

It sounds really cool on a surface level: hunting robotic dinosaurs in a post-apocalyptic world. Horizon is so much more than pretty graphics or a fascinating premise. This game is about relationships between human beings, through their love and their hatred for one another. Sure, there are massive machines to be slain, but that almost seems secondary when it comes to the narrative of the game.

Outcasts

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Aloy. Our heroine.

You play as a young female protagonist in Horizon Zero Dawn. Playing as a female character obviously isn’t new to video games, but the fact that this high-budget game centers around one is telling of the industry as a whole and where it’s heading. I personally think it’s fantastic and hope to see more lead characters from a variety of backgrounds.

The story hovers around human outcasts and the many taboos they choose not to face. I’ve already felt a connection with the narrative that I rarely experience this early in any game, especially a new franchise like this one.

Hunting More Than Machines

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“Machines, you say?”

Some of the machines in Horizon are pretty terrifying once they’ve spotted you and begin to rush at you. The adrenaline that I’ve experienced when running and dodging from these things is insane. The gameplay isn’t necessarily revolutionary, but it’s so well done that I’m left more than satisfied.

Again, back to the story of the game, this game is about hunting more than machines. It’s a hunt for acceptance in a world of tradition. Where there are strict rules, there are those that suffer from exclusion.

I look forward to playing more of Horizon and sharing more of my thoughts on the game with you. Thanks for reading!

Album Review: Hourglass by Mako

I’ve realized lately that the best electronic music isn’t defined by the genre. I know it’s a broad genre, but people typically think of hard synths and generic vocals when they hear “electronic,” “dance,” or “EDM.” It really depends on how you define the genre and subgenres. I don’t think Hourglass by Mako is necessarily electronic, but I do think it is a great album with amazing songs.

“This is our story…”

Mako Hourglass

I’ll start out by mentioning my two favorite songs on the album. Oddly enough, they’re the opening and closing songs. “Let Go of the Wheel” is a giant song, and what I mean by that is that it fills up the room with its stunning sound. The chorus, with its booming synths, comes in beautifully after the delicate intro vocals. It’s mournful, and triumphant at the same time.

“Our Story (Hourglass Finale)” is a reworked version of “Our Story,” a single which Mako released a while back. I absolutely loved the original, but this version of the song is arguably better. Not only does it fit the album in a way the other song couldn’t, it’s almost like a brand new song while still maintaining the essence of the original. Its creamy vocals and dreamlike synths crescendo at the end with a percussion heavy finale. So good.

“Smoke Filled Room” and “Craziest Day I Ever Had” are two other standouts on Hourglass. “Craziest Day I Ever Had” is the funnest song on the album, cushioned between two soft, emotional tracks. “Run for Your Life feat. Natalola” is the only song on the album with a different lead vocalist. It’s a nice change of sound for the album and I actually would have liked one or two other songs featuring other vocalists.

My favorite part of this album is how easy it is to listen to the whole thing through. There are albums out there where I prefer to pick out songs and listen to them on their own. Hourglass is an album where the whole is even better than the parts. There are a few songs on this album that aren’t my favorites, but they’re great in the context of the whole album.

I think Mako absolutely nailed their debut with Hourglass. I’m going to be listening to this one for a while.

4.5/5

“Your Musical Taste Is Bad and You Should Feel Bad”

Music is the lifeblood of my soul, the essence of my joy. Don’t worry, I’m not writing a poem for you in this post. I was writing a poem, but I decided it was really bad and that I should write about taste in music instead.

“Some Kind of Magic”

When two geniuses collide.

When two geniuses collide.

Music is amazing and every culture has created some form of it, no matter how alien it might be to us. We all listen to it, even if only once in a while due to our busyness or varying degree of passionate involvement (Wow. That was awkwardly phrased). I grew up with orchestral soundtracks, chiptunes, and midi songs, as well as Japanese rock. I am currently into electro-pop, with a little rock thrown in occasionally. That’s great and everything, but what if I told you that I think country music is eardrum-destroyingly-horrible to me? Not “what if,” I’m actually telling you that I hate it.

“Setting Fires”

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Electronic albums are a thing of the present.

Why do we feel the need to trash other people’s interests? Can’t we just let everyone enjoy their music in peace? Maybe that’s the thing; there are times when we’re forced to listen to other people’s music, music we dislike with an equal but opposite passion that is associated with the songs we love (Another awkwardly phrased sentence for you). There is definitely room for musical critique, but saying that someone else’s musical opinion is “trash” is another matter. Now, the music they listen to may actually be trash, but you don’t have to tell them that. Just say, “That song is not relevant to my interests.” or something along those lines.

In all seriousness, maybe one reason we hate on other music is due to some fear that we hold. Sharing music you like with others can be a deeply personal experience. It doesn’t always go the way you want it to. Sometimes your friends talk over the song you show them or they just don’t end up liking it. Maybe trashing other songs is our way of asserting our opinion on music as authoritative.

“I Feel the Love” – “How to Love” – “Crazy Love”

Loooooooooooove.

What’s the deal with including “love” in the title of every freaking song? I get that it’s a strong feeling as well as an important one, but come on. Pet peeve.

So what’s the conclusion? Love the music that you love and let others love what they love so that everyone can love each other. What’s that? Another country has bombed another country? Didn’t you guys read this post?!

Just keep making and listening to music! Here’s some of mine.

Final Freaking Fantasy XV

Tomorrow is kind of a big deal for me.

A tiny, insignificant game by the name of Final Fantasy XV launches for Playstation 4 and Xbox One.  This game has been in development for 10 years. 10 YEARS. Wrap your brain substance around that reality. That’s a decade of uncertain waiting. 10 years of “Is this game cancelled or not?” and “I hope they don’t break my childhood dreams.” A lot has changed since 2006. I could go into all the details, but I won’t bore you. Instead, let’s jump into what Final Fantasy means to me and what I hope to get out of this game.

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Mood: Boy band member.

Fantasee What I Did There?

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You’re laughing now…

My first game in the series was Final Fantasy X. I had known about Final Fantasy for years, but never got around to playing any of them. I knew the music was amazing and that they were critically acclaimed, but what really made these games so special? So I dove into FFX like a glutton into a pool of dark chocolate. I found that there was more than just chocolate. There were all types of candy in this metaphorical pool of diabetes. It was so good, I came back to the “meal” several years later and did it all again. Everything about FFX captivated me. The story was emotional; the characters were quirky; the game had full voice acting; I fell in love with Nobuo Uematsu’s compositions; the game was just fun. I decided to take a backwards journey into Final Fantasy’s past.

A Taste of History

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They’ve still got Chocobos in XV.

I tried out Final Fantasy I, III, VI, and VII and didn’t beat any of them (still working on VI). What did I learn? I don’t know if I learned anything necessarily useful, but I did come to realize why people loved Final Fantasy so deeply. Everything about the games was meaningfully crafted. My biggest takeaway was that these games were art. These games made me feel like humans could do some good once in a while. Then Final Fantasy XIII launched and let’s just forget I even mentioned that game. Cool? Cool.

Then There Were XV

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Those graphics tho.

I’ve seen and read enough about FFXV to know that I’m going to enjoy the game. I just don’t know if it’s going to be worth the wait that I was put through so cruelly. Few things could justify a 10-year waiting period. The game may not live up to the amount of hype that’s been built up for it, but that’s okay. I think. It seems to be doing quite well with the critics, but is that really what matters? What I really want is to finally toss this game into my console and immerse myself in fantastical Japanese-meets-western-mania. I just want to play a Final Fantasy that is special in its own right. At the same time, give me Chocobos or give me death. Preferably Chocobos. Lots of Chocobos.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

(No Spoilers)

I have many thoughts on the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; most ALL of them in the realm of positivity. That may be an overstatement, but honestly, this is the time for high praise; lots of it. I honestly didn’t expect this film to exceed my bated expectations in the way that it did. I’m still a little bit in shock at the experience that this film was for me. Definitely one of the highlights of 2016.

This is more of a rant than a review, so keep reading if that sounds intriguing to you.

Not Harry Potter

I think the biggest thing going for this film is that it doesn’t want to be Harry Potter. Beasts could have easily have been another more-of-the-same entry in the franchise and I would have taken it in eagerly; maybe too eagerly. Yes, the film uses familiar terms and name-dropped a few… “concepts” from the Harry Potter universe, and, yes, that’s why we all went to watch it, but Beasts is its own entity. That’s what was so amazing about this film. It knows where and what it comes from and maybe that’s only because J.K. Rowling wrote the script, but- well, that’s probably why. Even so, the whole film just feels original. At the whimsical core, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them bears the distinct mark of Rowling, but is still distinct.

Positively Genuine

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Can I just say “Thank you” to Rowling for writing a protagonist that isn’t a jerk? As much as I love the books and the universe, Harry Potter was kind of a total jerk faucet. I know he had a rough upbringing and all that (and that’s another topic) but well, read the parenthesis. Yeah. Let’s leave it at that. They’re both different characters anyway.

Newt is honestly one of the most likable protagonists I’ve come across in any medium. He was a gigantic gulp of fresh oxygen in a world of “whoa is me” and “my life sucks” protagonists that our world is littered with. Now those characters have their place and I’m not saying every character should be like Newt, but he felt… special (as cliche as it sounds).

But Wait, There’s More!

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I could say so much more about Beasts, but let’s jump into bullet-point-thoughts for time’s sake (or length’s. I don’t know how fast you read):

  • This movie was genuinely funny, and not in a “cheap laughs” kind of way.
  • Dialogue was spot on. “Just a smidge.”
  • Casting? Couldn’t have done it better myself. Actually, I would’ve had no idea what I was doing. Moving on-
  • As an artist, art direction pleased me very much. Oh, so very much. 10/10 would look at again. Bravo to the artists.
  • Characterization was out there in full force. Rowling knows her characters and how much they need to be developed without crowding the story.
  • Parts of the film were predictable, but it handled that fact really well.
  • Some may say the film was too long, but I felt it could have been even longer and I would’ve still enjoyed it. I think it was the right length when it comes down to it.
  • Where is my Netflix Original Series about Aurors?!

What’s Next?

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This franchise has a future that is beyond promising. I can’t wait for 2018, when the next entry is scheduled to be deliciously fed into our eye-sockets.Until then, back to the theater for another watch.

I’m not going to obligate you to watch the film, but…

Do it.

7/19/2016

We ring Liberty’s silver bell.

They sink deeper into Hell.

Freedom’s here in overdose,

While their blood is ink for forgotten prose.

Our lives are paraded, celebrated.

Their deaths are coldly stated, faded.

We pray for this; we pray for that.

They die in pain; they die in vain.

“For freedom!” we cry.

“We’re forsaken!” they die.

Fragment of Your Fiction

I’m but a fragment of your fiction,

A ballad without verse.

My melody may be stilted,

But yours is noteless.

You’re an arrow with no direction.

Why do I keep running after you?

What’s the point of a sign

If you won’t read it?

If tears didn’t show,

Would you still know my hurt?

Clouds cover,

Like makeup on scars.

What should shine through

Is only forgotten.

What keeps me going

Is lost on you.

Binge-Watching You

I’ve tried binge-watching you,

But the script is inconsistent.

Something about the characters

Is forced.

Each episode is too long,

Overly dramatic.

You think you’re a comedy;

You’re horror.

The production values are stellar,

But they’re wasted on you.

At 155 episodes and 7 seasons,

You should have ended after the first arc.

Your ratings are high.

So what?

Enjoy the attention.

I’m not coming back.