Video Game Review – Surviving Mars: Green Planet

TL;DR – It builds on everything that worked in the base game and then adds features that make it a must play

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Surviving Mars: Green Planet. Image Credit: Paradox Interactive.

Review –

Last year I had a look at a really interesting strategy game about starting the first ever colony on Mars. Just in its name, Surviving Mars, it told you just how hard it would be to build and sustain life on a hostile planet. You could set up a colony only to sit there and watch it die because you accidentally set up a negative feedback loop. But while this can be devastating, the game is always there tempting you to try again, and when you succeed there is so much joy in that moment. While I enjoyed my time in Surviving Mars, it did feel like it had yet to reach its full potential. Well, today we are going to look at the newest expansion Green Planet to see if this helps to fill in the gaps in the base game with copious amounts of Martian concrete.

So to set the scene, you are the commander for the first colony being sent to the red planet. When you arrive Mars is a bleak, hostile, but also a deeply beautiful place. It is a planet filled with promise but also death. You need to build up resources, construct domes to protect your people, provide oxygen and water, and keep it safe from all the disasters that can strike. However, while surviving is fine, there is a next step that you could take. Because what if we can shape Mars to be friendlier, what if we could turn it into a green planet?

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Movie Review – Loners

TL;DR – This is a film that was on the cusp of being something really interesting but just held back by an inconsistent tone    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Loners. Image Credit: Indie Rights .

Review

Sometimes I wonder if this political science adjacent degree I studied for will be any good in my future and then a political satire falls in my lap. I have a certain weakness for political worldbuilding and counterfactuals and today we have an interesting one to explore.

So to set the scene, in the not too distant future in an attempt to clamp down on the number of gun massacres. The government has created a system where introverts and loners are forced to wear an “L” Band across their heads that monitors them and helps them be better members of society. On top of this, once a week they have to meet for a group therapy session called “Lone-Anon”. Which is where we meet Lincoln (Brian Letscher), Tanner (Tyson Turrou), Ed (David Christian Welborn), Franny (Brenda Davidson), Jeremy (Khary Payton), Dabney (Neil McGowan), and Clara (Denise Dowse). After suffering through group theory sessions led by Mike (Keith Stevenson) they all got back to Clara’s house because they worked out that two hours of close proximity with six people is enough to get the authorities off their backs for the rest of the week. That is until Clara gets grabbed by the feds and Senise (Melissa Paladino) is brought in to join the group and things start not adding up.

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Movie Review – Rim of the World

TL;DR –  This is fun adventure flick in the tradition of saving the world being thrust upon young people. A fun cast, a good set up, and a good use of world building.   

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Rim of the World. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

If you have read this site before you will know I am a fan of the alien invasion genre, indeed Independence Day is one of my top ten films of all time. So I am always interested to see different takes on the genre, to see where they can take the formula. Today we are looking at the newest Netflix film based around this very scenario, but also more than many films I have seen this year, Rim of the World both knows what it is and what it wants to do, and at all times it succeeds in these core drives.

So to set the scene, we open on the first day of summer camp as kids from around Los Angeles and further come together to have a fun time away. Alex (Jack Gore) is a space enthusiast who likes to live in his world of screens, but there is a reason for his isolation. Zhen Zhen (Miya Cech) has secretly flown across the Pacific to attend the camp in an attempt to overcome her disappointed father. Dariush (Benjamin Flores Jr.) is full of bluster, the rich kid that has it all, and cares more about his sneakers than other humans, but then it is all a shield. There is also Gabriel (Alessio Scalzotto) who no one quite knows why he is here. Rim of the World adventure camp is full of zip lines, canoe rides, and camp counsellors that may have needed more of a background check before starting work, so your usual summer camp. However, while all that is happening the International Space Station is being destroyed because entering high orbit is an alien mothership and as people will find out as the sky explodes, they are not here to make new friends.

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Movie Review – The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience

TL;DR – If you ever wanted a visual representation of the descent into madness brought on by parental sports obsession and copious amounts of steroids, then this would be it.     

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Have you ever opened up a piece of media and have 100% no idea about what you are about to watch and then also a pretty good idea about what you are about to watch. It is an odd juxtaposition that I have never felt before, well that is before today. For you see, today we are exploring the fever dream of 1980s baseball culture by way of cocaine that is The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience, the latest thing from The Lonely Island.

So to set the scene, it is the late 1980s, an era of big hair, Madonna, and baseball. We open in on the titular Bash Brothers, Jose Canseco (Andy Samberg) and Mark McGwire (Akiva Schaffer). They were two of baseball’s greatest players, but they have a deep secret that no one knows about, they both did a rap video.

This is such an odd piece of media, that I was not actually sure how to classify it, I eventually went with movie just because that is where I put Guava Island from earlier in the year. I bring up Guava Island because structurally there are a lot of similarities even if they are both widely different in style and tone. What we have is a number of songs from The Lonely Island which have been brought together and strung together with a narrative. Though The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience is less on the revolutionary takedown of capitalist forms of oppression and more a drug fever dream about the pressures to take steroids.   

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Movie Review – Aladdin (2019)

TL;DR – It is a good, sometimes great film, but it does fall into some of the same traps as other Disney classic remakes of recent years.    

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is midish-credit dance number scene

Aladdin (2019). Image Credit: Disney.

Review

I’m not sure if I have ever been so apprehensive walking into a film before. For me, the original Aladdin holds a special place in my heart and without a doubt, it is my favourite from the entirety of the Disney Renaissance. However, this more than any of the recent remakes have had a very rocky history with its promotion misfires on top of the simple worries of how does an Aladdin film without Robin Williams? Well, some of those fears were put aside in the first couple of minutes of the films, others not so much.

So to set the scene, we open in on Aladdin (Mena Massoud) who is walking through the streets of Agrabah with his monkey companion Apu (Frank Welker). He is an orphan, or street urchin, or as the guards call him a street rat. He lives by stealing from others and then surviving off the small returns. But this is not your every day, because someone new is in the markets, someone who clearly does not belong, Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott) in disguise. One musical number later and all is right in the world, however, The Sultan’s (Navid Negahban) Grand Vizier (Marwan Kenzari) has other plans, for he is searching for the ‘diamond in the rough’ and his macaw Iago (Alan Tudyk) might have just found it.

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Video Game Review – Diving into Sea of Thieves: Anniversary Update.

TL;DR – A visually beautiful and fun game, even though there are still a couple of rough edges in places.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Sea of Thieves: Anniversary Update. Image Credit: Rare.

Review –

Last year the world was introduced to Sea of Thieves a game about sailing the open seas, digging for buried treasure, and sinking pirate vessels. As a concept, it looked like a great idea, and I watched a couple of streamers like Stephanie Bendixsen have a lot of fun on the open ocean. However, while it looked like a really fun game the price point was just too high here in Australia for me to be able to dive into it myself, something that has only be amplified by being out of a job for four months. Recently the game released its one-year anniversary update which seemed to add in a lot of the features people mentioned were missing, so I was glad the game was getting continued support. But one day I opened up my email to find a surprise, my friends had bought me a copy of the game. This meant that for the first time I got to explore the world and discover the highs and lows of Sea of Thieves.

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TV Review – Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne and Season Eight

TL;DR – While there has been patchy moments this season, I do think they stuck the ending.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Game of Thrones: The Iron Throne. Image Credit: HBO.

Review


Well, here we are, the final ever episode of Game of Thrones (if you don’t count the multiple prequels in preproduction at the moment). I can still remember that day when I first watched the very first episode as a group of men from The Watch go north past The Wall and discover there was something worse than wildlings waiting for them. A lost queen forced to marry into a barbarian horde to secure her ungrateful brother an army to retake their throne. A drunkard ruling a kingdom though all he wants to do is hunt and joust and fornicate with people who are not his wife. A family of noble people trying to do what is right, especially when it is hard, and being woefully unprepared for the mess they were walking into. Also, the things we do for love. All of those years of story have been building to this final episode, and I wonder can they stick the landing?

So to set the scene, during last week’s The Bells a lot of things happen and a lot of people died. After the death of Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) in The Last of the Starks, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) had become inconsolable, and Missandei’s final word Dracarys sat in her mind so that even when she heard the bells of surrender Dany decided to burn Kings Landing to the ground, not really caring who or what got in her way. The complete slaughter of the capital is something she has threatened since she arrived and finally showed what damage even one dragon can do, insert the nuclear weapons analogies. The capital is in ruins, Jon (Kit Harington) tried to do the right thing and failed, Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) had their whole worlds crash down on them, oh and Euron (Pilou Asbæk) is finally gone. We open with the aftermath as ash and snow still fall in the ruins of Kings Landing and the dead and dying lay among the wreckage. Here Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), Jon (Kit Harington), and Davos (Liam Cunningham) walk and see the damage their actions have wrought and the potential hell that they have unleashed. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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