Tag: Blog

[BLOG] Microsoft, Activision and Blizzard… OH MY!

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Hey all, PCR here.

A great disturbance was felt through The Force recently when Microsoft announced they were buying Activision/Blizzard in an all cash deal.  As a (former) long time World of Warcraft and Hearthstone player, I have a bit of a soft spot for Blizzard…  I met many amazing friends, some of which have become “in person” amazing friends I’ve had for years… and, (as one of those friends said recently) “I don’t regret one minute of the time I played.. but I also don’t regret the day I walked away”.

I have far less history with Microsoft (gaming).  I don’t have GamePass, and as far as consoles go, I had an OG XBox and a Series S (both of which I sold).

That said, this merger COULD be good for gaming, it could also be bad.

Here’s my thoughts…

Pros : With chip shortages still making consoles amazingly hard to find, this is going to get a LOT more games into a LOT more hands quicker.

: The offerings on GamePass are about to get a LOT more interesting and varied.

: Microsoft could do a lot to mitigate thoughts they’re becoming (more) of the “all-controlling, evil empire” by cleaning house at Activision and removing the personnel and other elements that plagued the company over the recent years

Cons : There’s ZERO guarantee Microsoft will clean house from problematic elements of Activision, which could/would be seen as rewarding that kind of behavior/environment as long as bottom line numbers are met.

: Could create a far bigger ‘Exclusively on…’ rift in the gaming industry.

: WIll Microsoft having that kind of control in the gaming industry stifle developers?

There’s a LOT that’s unknown, and I am far from having professional insight in the gaming community, but it will be interesting to see how this affects the overall landscape of gaming/cloud gaming.

What do YOU think?

[BLOG] A Little Something Extra, Hatton Returns to Nostalgia…

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Happy New Year everyone!  It’s my first blog of the year, and given the entertainment I’ve absorbed the last couple of weeks, I thought I’d revisit the topic of nostalgia.

In the last week, I got a chance to see Ghostbusters: Afterlife as well as the most recent season of Cobra Kai and they are interestingly connected in that they both were born into the world in 1984 and here we are, over 35 years later, revisiting that well of ideas and pulling on the heartstrings of those that grew up on them. Yes, there have been tons of revisits to shows and movies over the years ranging from the campy (The Brady Bunch films) to the not good (Car 54, Where Are You) and a thousand of good and bad ideas in between.

Ghostbusters and Cobra have knocked out that formula we have gotten used to, but do so in two very different ways – both successful – but, I won’t lie.. I think one of them does it much better.

So here’s my reveal – I enjoyed Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and I sat there engaged with it in the way people my age were meant to. Giggling at the sly retelling of jokes, reminded of the scenes from the original that I loved, tearing up at seeing artifacts of the past… but tears aside, I don’t know if I will watch it again any time soon. Maybe it was simply because it only had 2 hours to fit so much in, but it felt like it didn’t have its own voice as much as it let the voice of the past dictate its journey. It had a list of things to check off, and each time it did it, it was fun, a giggle, a reminder, a wistful past-oriented sigh of memory, and we’re on to the next one on the list. It’s written well, but it feels like it would need another movie for me to even begin to understand who these characters actually are.

On the other side of things, we have Cobra Kai. To be fair, it gets a lot longer of a runtime to play its nostalgia card since it has finished up its 4th Season, but it does something so dramatically different that sets it aside in the realm of ‘member the 80s? ..we do‘ and that is that it takes your expectations and changes them. A villain is brought back from the past in Terry Silver, and it explores precisely why he was such a madman in Karate Kid 3. We get a moment that feels almost exactly like the ending of the 3rd film, and your emotions are built to recognize what’s coming… and then it doesn’t – in dramatic fashion.  Every inch of retread ground it walks, it is because these characters have their own agency and they are retreading steps of the past, but not making the same decisions.

Ghostbusters relies on its source for its skeleton, Cobra Kai is building a new skeleton that just happens to look similar… if that makes sense. I loved both, but I really think one shows a much greater care towards the universe that came before it.

What did you think? You know where to tell us… @STSTCast and @RevVoice, and we’ll see you next week.

[BLOG] PCR’s End of Year Faves!

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Hey Somethings!

The holidays have come and gone, James and I are rested up, and it’s time to get back to it!

This week’s blog touches a bit on some of my most enjoyable things from the end of 2021!

For starters, I got a new job.  Pay’s MUCH more than my previous job.  Feels like it’s even less stressful so… bonus all around!

I also did a fair amount of gaming towards the end of the year.  Forza Horizon 5 dropped and, while the launch was buggy, I still immensely enjoy the game and play it daily.  The big ‘sleeper hit’ for me was Inscryption.  Is it a deck building card/video game? Yes.  Is it SOOO much more than that? Yeeesssssssssssssss.  Can I say more without spoiling a lot of things for those who haven’t played?  Nooooooo.  What I CAN say, if you’ve listened to us, and you enjoy our style.. you get a good sense of the type of people we are and the things we enjoy.  If THAT entertains you, check out Inscryption… you won’t be disappointed.

For Christmas I set myself up with HBO Max and started going through a BUNCH of stuff I never got to see in theaters.  While “Matrix Resurrections” is the big one, I won’t discuss that here as we have an episode coming out about it in the very near future.  Besides Matrix, I also powered through “Godzilla vs Kong”, “Mortal Kombat”, “The Suicide Squad” and “Suicide Squad”.  All of them.. solidly “meh” to be honest, with the exception of “The Suicide Squad” (the most recent one).  Cena’s deadpan delivery as Peacemaker and Dastmalchian’s Polka Dot Man definitely elevated it above “meh” into ‘enjoyable’.

For TV?  End of 2021 brought us Hawkeye (which I loved, ranks 2nd tied with “WandaVision” for me in MCU D+ TV) and The Book of Boba Fett.  At the time of writing this, only the first episode has dropped so far but damn was it good and I loved how they connected it in to the greater Star Wars story and history.

We’ve got a bunch of new episodes lined up and we’re back to blogs every Friday.. stick with us!  2022 is going to be great!

– PCR

[BLOG] Hatton’s Best of Everything 2021

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Happy Holidays friends – as this is our last week of new material.. with one secret exception you will only know about if you are subscribed, I thought I should go back and look at some of my favorite things of the year.  Living in a bubble, I absorb a lot of garbage. Television. Books. Games. Comics. Alcohol… it really is a cavalcade of ignoring the outside world in this brain of mine. So, why not take a few minutes and look at the last year and talk about some of the things I’ve really enjoyed.

Books – Sadly, this year was not a big reading year for me. I wish I’d gotten through more books and as I’m currently reading, albeit slowly, Grady Hendrix’s Final Girl Support Group (and if you’ve never read Hendrix, he’s a horror treat) I am at least doing my best to keep books in my life.  So what was my favorite this year? That was a title that felt like it was from ten or twenty years ago with kids going to a magical school where magical things happen.  It doesn’t hold a candle to my favorite of the genre (and top favorite books of all time) in Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, but Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education, which the sequel just released recently, was so much fun.

The school is deadly and alive. Magic attracts all sorts of beasties. The politicks of the students is in every conversation.. it is all very interestingly political, and where the main character could easily turn into an ‘all too powerful Mary Sue’ type – she’s so enjoyably grumpy, I kinda don’t mind.


Shows – The family finished the many seasons of our dinner time Parks & Rec – which was my second time around, and that show… dammit, I miss it. Maybe even more than I miss The Good Place.. but my favorite show of the year comes from an entirely different side of things. I know we had some amazong Mando action and WandaVision was a real front runner to be my favorite, just because of its amazing meta-ness — my favorite is going to Netflix’s Midnight Mass.

I know some people don’t enjoy the genre of gothic horror that Mike Flanagan has brought to the Netflix table with Hill House and Bly Manor – but I really enjoyed them.  That said, Midnight Mass is going to be a hard show to top. Every actor is acting their ass off. Every little flinch or nod means something. It’s a masterclass in telling a tight story with a satisfying finish.


Games – My year of video games has been one of massive amounts of Executive Dysfunction.  In my giant Steam game list.. I go and play a handful of garbage roguelikes and roguelites – decide to play something meaty – get distacted – forget what I was playing – go back to roguelites… so yeah, there’s a lot of time spent in fun popcorn like SNKRXCurse of the Dead Gods, and SKUL.. there’s also an inordinate amount of time spent playing Dead By Daylight with Rob & friends.  So what game can I put at the top? 

First, an honorable mention has to go to Inscryption which, I won’t lie, will probably take the #1 spot by the time the ball drops for 2022… it is just fantastic in every way – and after Rob had played an hour of it, bought it for me because he knew I would fall in love with it.. and it really is a VERY particular James-sized-itch it scratches. That said, my top spot for the year is going to go to Enderall: Forgotten Stories – which, if you haven’t seen.. is free, and worth it. It’s a complete repaint of Skyrim. A new world. New voices. New quests. New magic. Harder, but not brutal… it made me fall in love with Skyrim again, and it’s kinda not even Skyrim.


Movies – I feel like this is ‘the big one’ but, honestly, this wasn’t as much of a year for big movies as it was big television.  I could do a list of just my favorite shows and list them off easily… when it comes to movies, I have watched so many ‘webcam party’ horror movies and nose-stuffed-up-their-butt art-horror this year that I really am frustrated with most of the genre. I also, as if there is any surprise, watch a lot of garbage movies with the full knowledge that they’re going to be bad… but dammit I love seeing actors clip through green screen monsters.

So, what was the best of the best?  Based on my ratings at Letterboxd, there are only three movies I gave above a 4.. and only one got a 5. The three movies that sit in the 4-star area are Malignant, which I know is a divisive opinion, but James Wan speaks my horror language – Coherence, which.. honestly, is the most interesting budget science fiction movie I’ve seen in years – and Spontaneous, which has flown under everyone’s radar and I legitimately think it could be this generation’s Heathers.

That leaves my one 5 star… the one movie I saw that made me tear up with how beautiful and beautiful sounding it was.  It’s a cliche from a living cartoon like me, but it is Pixar’s Soul. I don’t speak in Jazz.  I have an ear for music, but I don’t have an ear for any genre of music that includes ‘single-serving noodling’ … but Soul .. man, it was just synesthesia come to life.

 

So what were your favorite things? You know where to find us and let us know – and if we don’t talk, we hope that you and yours have a wonderful rest of 2021 and thank you for being here and letting us hijack your brain.

[BLOG] TV shows that have outlived their welcome

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I know it’s supposed to be Hatton’s week but…

….I GOT THINGS TO SAY!

SO… I just finished watching Season 8 of “The Blacklist” on Netflix, and was shocked at the ending.

SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET!
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I HATE that we were led along for 8 years of this show to finally see the payoff of Keen finding out who Reddington is (and who he is to her) and this is what happens.  Sure the ‘plan’ was to kill Reddington (which I never believed was going to happen) but I *didn’t* think we’d end up seeing Keen get killed.  I understand actress Megan Boone was off to do other things… but damn if this doesn’t feel like a punch in the dick.

Having been a fan of LOST, I suppose one should never let their guard down on things like this… but I honestly feel, as much as I love Spader’s portrayal, that the show has probably gone on for too long (and is still going…)

With that in mind… here as some shows that are still trucking along that I feel have overstayed their welcome.

The Walking Dead – I honestly couldn’t care any less about anyone left on this show.  I keep watching because I’m pot committed and want to just finish it out.  I know it only has one season left, but 11 seasons was probably 3 or 4 too many.

The Blacklist – See the above rant.  The last few seasons felt like the show was getting cramps trying to tie itself into knots of double-crossing and betrayal which felt effortless in the first few seasons.  I will say, I will completely miss Amir Arison as Agent Mojtabai…he’s been chewing up every scene he’s been in lately.

Pawn Stars – Ok, look.. it was fun and interesting in the beginning when it was about the ‘stuff’, but now the show is different.  It’s “Kardashians at the pawn shop” kind of vibe now that everyone knows is amazingly fake and staged and should have been left on the shelf years ago.

Great British Bake-Off – Yep, I’ll catch flack for this, but I gave up on this show 3/4 of the way last season.  Too many things are a “thing” now… (the “Hollywood Handshake” being one of my biggest ‘ugh’ things).  Also, my pet peeve on long-running reality shows of this type.  Sure, the first season was “the 12 best amateur bakers in the country”… what’s the tag line now?  “12 of the top 145 best amateur bakers…”.  Sure the specials are kinda quaint, but this show hasn’t been the same since Mary, Sue and Mel left.. and it never will be again.

Hit us up on the Twitter @STSTCast and let us know what shows YOU think have been around too long!

– PCR

[BLOG] PCR wants your thoughts on what’s to come!

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Hey Somethings!  PCR here.

This week’s blog, I’m taking a slight detour.

As has been our pattern, we’re taking December off from recording and releasing new episodes due to the holidays.  Now, fear not, we have some things in store… but I wanted to look to the future, and to get our listener’s thoughts on things.

We’re pretty happy with the shows and the formats that we have, we feel it gives us a chance to stretch our legs at times while still giving you all something we’re proud of and we feel is in our wheelhouse.

All that said, are there things you’d like to hear us talk about?  Topics, ideas, show styles…

As much as Hatton and I enjoy listening to the sound of our own voices, we want YOU to enjoy listening to the sound of our voices even more.

Let us know over at somethingsomethingcast@gmail.com, over on Twitter @STSTCast, or join our Facebook at facebook.com/SomethingSomethingCast.

While your at it, heading over to iTunes and leaving us a review would be an amazing thing to do for us!

– PCR

[BLOG] A Little Something about Hatton and Arthouse Horror

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Hey Somethings, I actually had to go back and look through some of my old blog posts to see if I’ve talked about this, and I was surprised to find out that I hadn’t! If the ending of a horror movie ends with the director saying things like, ‘Well, what do YOU think it means?’ like they are your therapist, you may have just watched an arthouse horror movie.

“But Hatton,” you ask, “what IS an elevated/arthouse horror movie?”

Well, it’s a movie that is trying to hide a deeper message beneath its horror. This isn’t new, as films like Jacob’s Ladder (1990), Dawn of the Dead (1978), and even Godzilla (1954) were talking about one thing under the guise of scares. Nowadays though, it is a twofold defense mechanism for:

* Movies that have a deeper message
* Movies that want you to think they have a deeper message
* People who don’t want to admit they like horror movies

Movies like Get Out, with its obvious racial overtones use the vehicle of horror to really turn a topic on its head and make you uncomfortable in your own world. Mother is a story of Christian mythology. Babadook is about abuse. These movies tell an engrossing tale of scares while also at the end give you something to think about. Bad arthouse horror, on the other hand, gives you attempts at symbolism that are never explained and plotholes that you hope are intentional until you get to the credits and you end up confused. The truth is, a good percentage of horror movies out there have some other meaning, intentional or not, and brushing aside any movie because its message isn’t deeply imbedded enough is, at the very least, insulting to the people involved. To sit and look at a movie like Hereditary (2018) or Neon Demon (2016) and comment about how the deeper message is beneath the surface and the horror is what you feel and.. well, I could go on, is to ignore that horror has been telling interesting stories about the human condition since the first vampires were born of fears of porphyria and rabies.

In the future, at the end of a movie, you sit there scratching your head while your one friend who only vapes artisanal clove oil and refers to your fruit salad as a ‘reconstructed charcuterie’ tells you how deep the film you just watched is. It’s ok to hate the movie.. it’s ok to think it was stupid.. it’s ok to want a clear answer to your narrative tales.. and it’s ok to kick that dude out, because seriously, you don’t need that kind of negativity.

[BLOG] Hatton talks A Little Something about Halloween and Halloween Kills [SPOILERS!!!]

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Before I get into this week’s topic – let me just say that this post includes some spoilers for Halloween Kills.  If you haven’t seen it and you don’t want to have some of it spoiled for you – I suggest you skip this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are they gone?

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, good.  We didn’t want them here anyway.

I didn’t want to review Halloween Kills as much as I wanted to talk about what it did right and wrong. You see, the 2018 relaunch/new timeline/thing was, quite literally, the best Halloween movie I have ever seen.  Of course it is hard to compare it to the 70’s original, but that movie defined the tropes of the ‘unkillable monster kills kids’ genre, but with that said, it did what no other Halloween movie had done other than the original… it engaged me.

Now, I love slasher flicks, obviously – but the reason you just don’t see that many is because the genre is stale with a rare exception (See: Terrifier, The Strangers) and there doesn’t feel like much more you can staple on to the old classics of Jason and Michael. But Halloween turns itself around. It isn’t a movie about a monster hunting a woman – it is about a woman who is prepared to kill the monster. It’s Laurie Strode’s movie. She isn’t the final girl – she is the protagonist.

Halloween Kills, as the middle chapter of the preordained trilogy, had hard shoes to fill.  How do you keep the two away from each other so you can get to the actual really real final showdown, but also continue to try and turn the genre on its head?

You show what the PTSD of this monster caused to the town, the collective character of Haddonfield.  With literal pitchforks in hand, this is a story of a hundred people who think they are just like Laurie Strode. They feel guilt about surviving, fear over Myers’ inevitable return, pain at what they’ve lost… and collectively they try and face Michael — and inevitably, they fail.  It really is a brilliant concept, and I bet a few passes around with great writers could have evolved it into a movie just as strong as 2018’s was, but it can’t help but lean into its tropes, bury itself like a hatchet into the skulls of its viewer, and misses every mark along the way.

Somehow, the first film subverts its tropes and has ascended to easily the greatest slasher film of the last decade – and yet, even with a brilliant take on a sequel, the most recent film can’t help but feel like it has taken a step right back into what made people bored with the slasher genre to begin with.

I hope the final act continues the trend of giving us a different story than the one we expect. We’ve seen slashers die before, hell, we’ve seen Michael Myers die a couple of times.. the key is to make us still surprised by the idea.

-Hatton

[BLOG] The Streaming Dead

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Hey Somethings, PCR here.

So, I’ll admit, at the time of this writing, I have not yet finished Season 10 of The Walking Dead.  I don’t have cable, so everything I watch is through streaming, and I finally got around to starting S10 about a week ago.

Mind you, I’m not watching because I’m excited about it.. I’m watching it because, in poker terms, “I’m pot committed”.  While the show certainly feels different with Rick gone, I feel the show has been pretty boring since Terminus.  Sure Negan breathed some life (no ironic pun intended) into the show in Seasons 7 and 8, but for the most part, The show has been a wash/rinse/repeat cycle of

“They don’t trust us!”
“Well, we have to behave to make them trust us”
“Hey, they trust us, we can stay here!”
“Oh shit, we did something stupid and ruined it all, now we have to leave!”
“Hey… we found someplace!”
“…they don’t trust us…”
“…well, we have to make them trust us…”

I was never a huge Daryl fan.  King Ezikiel grew on me, and I like Carol.  Gary is a great character.  Gabriel has been interesting through the second half of S10, and Eugene has grown into his own man.  I will say, I LOVE Princess so far.. she brings a whole new “uhhh..wtf?” but, it feels like a crumb in a sea of blandness.  Even the Whisperers got lame this season.  Out of 20 episodes (out of 22 for the season) I’ve seen so far, there has been exactly 1 scene that made me sit up and go “No shit…” and two lines I enjoyed.  Oddly, all of them involved Negan.  The reveal of who Negan drops the head in the bag to caught me off guard for sure.  When the Whisperers were about to attack… uhh.. Hilltop?  Alexandria?  (I can’t tell them apart, and couldn’t honestly care less to) and Negan says “it’s time for folks to put on their shittin’ pants”.. well, I’ve started using that in unsavory situations.  His exchange with Daryl when Beta’s identity is revealed of “Holy shit, you know who that was?” “Yeah, nobody” made me literally laugh out loud…but the bright spots have been few and far between.

Daryl’s missing 5 years?  Don’t care.  Leah?  Nice to look at, but don’t need her story.  Maggie coming back?  Feels like a bone thrown to fans to have SOMEone ‘come back’ after her and then Rick left.

I don’t know what the last 2 episodes of Season 10 hold, and I don’t have much faith that the series will wrap itself up in a way that even a majority of fans will like at the end of Season 11… but I’ll watch when it comes out… just so I can say I finished it.

[BLOG] Rob’s thoughts on AHS Double Feature : Red Tide

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Hey Somethings, PCR here!

Now.. fair warning, if you haven’t caught up with the 1st half of AHS S10, you may want to pass this by…….

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Ok!  So far, Season 10 is an interesting and enjoyable season.  Red Tide is 6 episodes, and the first half of Season 10, with Death Valley being the last 6 episodes.  I haven’t watched Ep 7 at the time of this writing, but the guess is the two seasons will somehow converge and overlap in some way.  I really liked seeing Finn Wittrock in a lead role.  The whole vibe was really well done in my opinion..the stormy greys, the lack of any real vibrant color.. really got the whole ‘winter in a Massachusetts coastal town’ feel down.   Macauley Culkin was the real scene stealer for me, as Mickey was the only one I felt sorry for at how his story wrapped up.  That said, I wasn’t crazy about Ursula, and.. to be fair, I don’t believe I’ve enjoyed *any* character Leslie Grossman has played in AHS.  While other actors seem to play a multitude of styles and personality types, Grossman always seems to end up playing the ‘Meh-person-turned-bitch that I could care less about’.  The final episode of the first half was a case and point as it really revolved around her.  For me, Episode 6 was a let down that moved way too fast through the narrative to wrap up the first half of Double Feature and set up the second.  Where the first 5 episodes were a slow-burn pace, episode 6 felt like a roller coaster ride built by someone who’s never built a roller coaster but has seen one once.

All in all, I’m mildly optimistic for Death Valley and to see how it ties in to not only Red Tide, but previous seasons as well.