Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Snake Pass

During 2017, 3D platformers saw a resurgence in interest, due in part to indie developers exploring new options with the genre. Of the more well-known attempts at reviving the genre, the one that received a lot of attention was Yooka-Laylee, developed by former members of Rare, a British developer known for such titles as Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye 007 and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Having no nostalgia for Rare’s titles, however, I found myself more interested in two of its competitors, Snake Pass and A Hat in Time, the former of which I would pick up as a free giveaway through Humble Bundle. With this in mind, I thought that Snake Pass’ main gimmick of a platformer without jumping really allows for some innovative ideas, but I’m not sure I would have liked it as much if I had paid its $20 asking price.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Stubs: The Beatles: Get Back

The Beatles: Get Back
(2021) Starring John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr. Directed by Peter Jackson. Produced by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon, Olivia Harrison, Peter Jackson, Clare Olssen, Jonathan Clyde United Kingdom, New Zealand, United States Color Run time: 360 minutes Documentary.

On January 2, 1969, with loose plans to do a live concert, The Beatles, at Paul McCartney’s guidance, gathered together in Twickenham Studios to rehearse, write songs and record for what was planned to be a TV Special. An ambitious project to write, rehearse and perform new songs, The Beatles gave themselves less than a month to pull it together. While the Deluxe Edition of the album Let It Be will attest to, they not only came up with enough material for an album, they also worked on songs that would appear on their last album Abbey Road and also on solo records from McCartney, Lennon and Harrison. The live concert finally found a home, the rooftop at Apple Corps, and took place on January 30, 1969.

In between starting the project and the concert, the recordings moved from a film studio to their own company, George Harrison would briefly leave the group, and keyboardist Billy Preston would join the sessions.

The TV Special would become the film Let It Be, and was seen by many to be documenting the disintegration of the greatest rock and roll group of all time. It didn’t help matters that the film was released after the group’s official breakup and that no member of the band went to the premiere.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

8-Bit Christmas

It’s not often we watch new movies on a whim, but sometimes it’s good to take a risk like that. 8-Bit Christmas, based on the book of the same name by Kevin Jakubowski, is such a film, one that we didn’t know about until shortly before it premiered on the HBO Max streaming service, with the hook being that it was a Christmas movie centered around the atypical subject of a video game console, in this case the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). I will admit I went into this with low expectations, even with Neil Patrick Harris getting top billing, however, while imperfect, it turned out to be a lot better than I expected.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Smashing Drive (GameCube)

While I have played some more obscure games before, it’s not very often I play a game because I heard about it through a YouTube video, and yet here we are. Developed by Gaelco, Smashing Drive was released into North American arcades in the year 2000 and later ported to home consoles (Xbox, GameCube) in 2002. After learning about the game, I managed to find a GameCube copy online since I didn’t know about the Xbox port at the time, however the newfound attention drawn to it caused prices to go up by the time I got around to buying it. After getting to play through it once, I can say it was worth playing once, though not at inflated prices.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Clifford the Big Red Dog (Film)

While I may have a limited exposure to Clifford the Big Red Dog, I had enough from my childhood that the trailers for the live-action adaptation, which went in and out of development for years, didn’t really inspire confidence. I did, however, decide to watch it for free through Paramount+ under the idea that while I wouldn’t pay money to watch it, I’d still give it the benefit of the doubt. After all, Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) turned out much better than I had expected based on its own rocky development and early trailers. Unfortunately, this version of Clifford turned out closer to how I feared Sonic would.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Stubs - Beauty and the Boss

Beauty and The Boss (1932) Starring: Marian Marsh, David Manners, Warren William, Charles Butterworth Directed by Roy Del Ruth Screenplay by Joseph Jackson Based on the play A Templom Egere by Ladislaus Fodor (Budapest, 2 Dec 1927). Producer (None Credited). Run time: 66 minutes. USA Black and White. Pre-Code, Comedy.

Violet Ethelred Krauth had a bit of a meteoric rise in Hollywood. Her film career began in 1928 when she was only 15. While she was still attending Hollywood High, Marian had approached a silent movie actress, Nancy O’Neil, who gave her speech and movement lessons. That lead to appearances in short subjects produced by Pathé, where she used the name Marilyn Morgan.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Crazy Taxi (PS2)

The year 1999 saw the release of an arcade game from Sega known as Crazy Taxi, with its popularity and success leading to a port for the Sega Dreamcast in 2000. Not long after the Dreamcast was discontinued in 2001, ports of Crazy Taxi for PS2 and GameCube were released later that same year and has since been ported to other systems over the years. Of these ports, I happen to own the PS2 version that I found at a GameStop when they still sold PS2 games. I picked up this port since I had some experience with the arcade game, and only learned later that it retains all of the music and product placement found in both the original arcade version and the Dreamcast port. After deciding to give the game a closer look, I would agree with the idea that it encapsulates the time in which it was made, though found the port a little rough around the edges.