Swiss Army Man — The Daniels, as they credit their shared writers/directors effort, do a passable Michel Gondry imitation, including sweded films, makeshift scenery, and the volume of fully three films' worth of twee intimacy. Along the way they leap gleefully past every limitation of good taste to indulge in fart, shit, vomit, and boner jokes, as Hank (living but emotionally dead) and Manny (dead but emotionally alive) collaborate to rescue each other from their predicament, finding the meaning of love or at least true compassion along the way. It's never clear if we're actually dealing with a man who was stranded on a deserted island, or if it's simply a figurative one. The ending is fantastic, but does nothing to clarify the so-called reality of the film's preceding scenes.
It's also gorgeous. As much as I raved about Watchdogs 2, GTA5 does a better job of representing the southern california environment than WD2 does of San Francisco. Something about the sky, the air quality and the depth of visibility, how colors and saturation shift in the distance, and the depiction of mountains, hills, rocks… well, Rockstar nails it perfectly. No knock on the WD2 effort, which probably didn't cost $200M to develop.
HOWEVER, jesus, speaking of Ubisofting, Trevor's submarine mission to get all the toxic waste, and AGAIN with Michael and a dinghy to search for sunken submarine pieces, this is just a tremendous amount of time-wasting, un-fun, exasperating tedium. I remember thinking "NEVER AGAIN" when I did the 360 version, and I should have kept to that; instead, I'm kinda looking at that Platinum Trophy and thinking, I like this game well enough that I want a full-completion, and that little OCD demon is sitting on my shoulder, nodding.
Urusei Yatsura or Ranma appeal to EVERYONE. Crayon Shinchan is funny to everyone. But girls whose legs turn into battleships, or an academy for lesbian witches begins from an intent which itself is highly suspect.
"Makes me want to say, 'It's a beautiful world!' for you, for you, for you! It's not for me!"
Had a fantastic weekend out with a friend who is leaving for Tokyo soon, and another who lives in Tokyo but came down for BitSummit 5. So many inspiring people and experiences there. Stayed at 9 Hours again, for the win. It wasn't as cheap as previous times, but still a clean and relaxed environment to crash at.
Here's an answer I recently posted on Quora about working in Japan:
It’s rough. I worked in US game development for 8 years at five companies, and then over 10 more years in Japan at one company, before returning to US game development. From nearly every angle, developing in America is more rewarding than in Japan.
The salary is lower in Japan. I took at 15% pay cut from my US Art Director salary to take a corporate Director position. Some friends have taken closer to 50% pay cuts when joining a Japanese developer.
The hours are consistently longer in Japan. In 20 years, I’ve worked crunchtime in a number of companies; Japan demands more. A non-crunch workweek was ~50 hours but, prior to delivering builds, 60–65 hours was common, and we would be in 70~80 hours a week across 7-day-weeks for the last several months of any project.
Consideration from the company for the individual is largely unheard of in Japanese dev. It is culturally normal to see one’s efforts as part of the group’s, and this mentality of course carries into the workplace. It is critical to get tacit approval from superiors, because one is making a decision for the company as a whole, not just on one’s own responsibility.
On the positive side, my Japanese teammates were consistently hard working, diligent, faithful, and consistent. They would deliver on promises consistently, and largely communicated well when things were not going as planned. As a manager, I never felt left in the lurch.
My first thought was that it was older. We've all gone back and watched the original Toy Story and been shocked at the image quality – how it seemed amazing at the time, and now it's just weak sauce. So I figured this Frozen Kingdom maybe had been made in 2010 or 2005 – that might have explained it. – Nope, it's a 2016 film. Or at least that's when it was released… maybe the initial work was done much earlier, and it was shelved while waiting for a release?
It just feels like I got suckered in. The cast has Ron Perlman, Christopher Plummer, and Jane Curtain. It seemed like it would be a legitimate production!
It was not.
So I'm dreamwidth-bound, it was nice seeing you. Hit me up over there.
I honestly didn't see the end coming that way. I assumed it would go down differently because it's a Disney movie, but DAMN that was a satisfying, beautiful way to handle things.
The CGI characters were fine. It was surprising, but well handled overall -- but I agree I would have preferred to keep it slightly less front-and-center. Some people think one character was handled better than another, but I thought they were equally well-done, but imperfect.
K2-SO had me laughing aloud repeatedly, and Donnie Yen's character had me cheering.
Complaints: Forrest Whittaker was misused; there is some backstory there we should have seen, but didn't. He was Frank Booth-ing it up big time, and we have no idea why. Exposition was handled clumsily, without exception. Character names were mishandled; I have no idea what Yen's character was named. Captain Andor's name is two opposed conjunctions. Who the FUCK designed the Empire's server farm? That thing is five flavors of bullshit. I mean, cool, but it was apparently the same guy who designed the Death Star's impractical tractor beam control. Oh, forgot that the shot of Mustafar should have been labled "MORDOR" because, Jesus, could they lift any more from the visuals of LOTR?
My initial license is $75/month and doesn't cover iOS builds. Soon, Unity allows for iOS builds in non-Pro subscriptions, but with a splashscreen. My clients don't want a splashscreen.
I spend three weeks sorting out with Unity how to make this happen, because (a) the fuckers didn't respond to net inquiries through their site for 10 days, until I called them out on Twitter, and (b) the solution was actually right in front of me in a mail which allowed for a subscription upgrade... but Unity had not included any form of language in the offer about what is actually included. NONE. Not a damned thing.
When support finally confirms that the offer will get me splashscreen-free deployment on iOS, I proceed through payment. Despite Unity having my CC information on-hand for my existing subscription, it requires me to re-enter my CC info. This engages a new in-frame "Verified by Visa" step which requires another re-entering of the same data. After that, it wants me to establish a password for Verfied by Visa, which I do. After that, it drops me back at the Unity store page:
Not only declined, but as I found out today, nearly a week later, it had triggered fraud protection on my CC, so the other charges I've made since then were blocked without notification. I spent nearly an hour on the phone with the bank today clearing all that up.
My CC is again available for use. I re-initiate the process for buying the "new Pro" subscription for Unity, but now the price on the specified site (only accessible through my special offer mail), which is supposed to be $75/mo through 12/31 instead shows $125/mo.
I'm as mad as a cat forced to wear wet pajamas.
'"Unready" is a mistranslation of the Old English word unræd (meaning bad-counseled), a twist on his name "Æthelred", meaning noble-counseled. It should not be "unprepared", but rather "ill-advised".'
So does a preschool classroom full of five-year-olds. What a stupid thing to say. Hardly genius.
Everly was a 99¢ special, so I took a chance on it. In general, I don't think Salma Hayek is often hired for her acting skills as much as her figure. She wasn't bad in this, which surprised me. On the other hand, the script was just frustratingly bad. It felt like someone wanted to write a more comic book version of Kill Bill, but include a nearly single stage, theatrical set in which to show it. Plus add a little grit and maybe some torture porn. I can't stand the latter. Just so much stuff didn't make internally consistent sense. I'm fine with suspension of belief to just about any degree, but I can't stand when the Reality Gauge needle is shoved around like a bullied victim in a school yard.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation was great popcorn fun, and that's about it. M:I 3 and Ghost Protocol are both movies which made an impression. I could tell you about all kinds of scenes in this one, but the overall plot was less satisfying and coherent than JJ's previous outings.
Grantland, on True Detective's second season
THE GOOD: This is probably the best Batman game out of the lot, and it was made by Splash Damage, not Rocksteady. SD clearly understands not only what works from Rocksteady's formula, but has gone further with the established art direction and added more clear color, lighting, and structural landmark cues which make navigating a more intuitive effort than in Asylum or City.
Moreover, the story has a clear arc which is a joy to play through, definitely capturing the angry and brooding nature of young Batman, even if he has a lot more toys than Miller's Batman: Year One ever enjoyed. Unlike the previous games, I can actually tell you what the story consists of despite taking place in a sprawling open-world game. Very satisfying.
Which is part of the problem, I think: I'm done with the story, save Enigma's capture, and it is difficult to motivate myself to keep playing, like a comic which seems to have wordless panels with random character placement even after the story has completed.