Movie Review – League of Legends Origins

TL;DR – An interesting look at the rise of one of the world’s most played video games, even if there are a few rough edges to the presentation.    

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

League of Legends Origins. Image Credit: Riot Games.

Review

When you think about sporting spectacles, you think about Wimbledon, or Superbowl, or The Olympics. However, as time is going on, Esports is a growing phenomenon drawing in more people and more money than ever before. In this world of Esports, one of the biggest and fastest-growing games is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) that goes by the name League of Legends. This documentary explores the history of Riot Games’ League of Legends, its growth and its potential future.

The fact that a game created in 2006 is still around today, is one of those quirks that rarely happens in the video games industry, the fact that it continues to be one of the most popular games in the world makes it more so. For that very reason alone, it makes this documentary interesting because it is really engaging watching a game go from being working out of a basement to having a grand final in the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing. This is coming from someone who does not actually play the game. I have tried to get into MOBAs like LOL and DOTA before and while I like watching them be played but I have no skill in playing them.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Ghosts of Sugar Land

TL;DR – An interesting exploration of one of the big topics of our days that just doesn’t quite come together.      

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Ghosts of Sugar Land. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

There is this moment when people find out someone has done truly awful, where those who know them have to reconcile the person you knew with the person they now are. This is a common reaction across the world but today for some people it has even more complication due to outside pressures. When people head off to ISIS, there is this clamour as to why nothing was done, why didn’t people know?

This short film explores the life of “Mark” and the reception to his apparent departure to Syria to fight for ISIS by his friends back in Sugar Land, Houston, Texas. Right from the start, this documentary captures your interest by yes the content but also from the presentation. Everyone in the document bar “Mark” has their face covered by vintage pop-culture masks like Thor and Spider-Man. This is such an odd choice but then it is a good juxtaposition to what they are talking about and everyone is wearing it for a good reason.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Quantification Trilogy

TL;DR – A fascinating experimental film that I think would work much better as three shirt films that one complete future    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Warning – There is extensive use of Strobe Lighting in the second part of the trilogy.

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

Quantification Trilogy. Image Credit: Jeremy Shaw.

Review


Today we look at a film that is truly experimental in scope and form. It is a film that has taken footage from the past (I believe) and then repurposed it into something new. This transformation in tone and purpose through editing is not something I have seen before.

So to set the scene, in the distant future the human race has become extinct, replaced instead by quantum humans and their universal connection to the hive. However, there are some quantum humans that due to a genetic quirk have reverted a little back to their long-dead human ancestors. These Quickeners have gathered together in Area 23 in the long-abandoned American continent to practice old rituals and to find some meaning away from the hive.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Birders

TL;DR – A fascinating look at the birds that live along the USA/Mexico border   
Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Birders. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I love a good wildlife documentary, where you dive into a place in the world and explore the glory that you find. Even more so when it is an area of the world I don’t have a lot of experience with. Today we get just that with an exploration of the birds along the Texan/Mexican border.   

On the border of the United States of America and Mexico is the Rio Grande/Río Bravo River. These days it is more the focus on human migration however while this is an important area of discussion it is also the site of another migration, birds. This is a look at the people whose lives revolve around the birds, protecting them from the many dangers focusing on this precious land.    

Continue reading

Movie Review – The Australian Dream

TL;DR The Australian Dream is a film that I think every Australian should watch because it holds up a mirror to Australian society and we need to be ready for what it shows.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

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

The Australian Dream. Image Credit: Madman.

Review

I thought when I sat down to see The Australian Dream that I was ready for what I was going to see. I was a fool. This might be the most important film I have seen all year because it shines the light on an episode that many in Australia feel more than content to sweep under the rug because to do otherwise would mean confronting our history, our way of life, and our commitment to all Australians.

At its core The Australian Dream tells the story of Adam Goodes former Australian of the Year and one of the best Australian Rules Footballers (AFL) to have ever played the game. It is the story of his life, the highs and the lows. However, it is something more than that, it is using the biography to focus in on a problem Australia has had for the last two-hundred odd years and that is how it has dealt with its Indigenous people and well there is a reason that Indigenous Australians call Australia Day, Invasion Day.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Enter the Anime

TL;DR – This is a film that blends the idea of an advertisement with the presentation of a documentary and works about as well as you would expect    

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

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

Enter the Anime. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Growing up, one of the touchstones in my early cinematic life was anime, you would get it in the morning on TV, which I had to tape on VCR for watching later. Indeed, I think every one of my generations loathed those opening sounds of the first episode of Pokémon because it meant that Cheez TV had run out of new episodes and was starting it from the beginning again. As I grew up, it was a part of my cinematic world that I just couldn’t keep up with, and every time I go to conventions I see an array of cosplayers showing my just how many shows I have missed. Well when I saw that there was a new documentary about anime on Netflix, I was really interested because it would be nice to walk down memory lane and to explore the future again. Unfortunately, that is not quite what we got.

The premise for this documentary is that Netflix set the director Alex Burunova of working out the answer to a question ‘What is Anime’? Alex, having no experience with the genre other than a tangential understanding of its influence decided to throw herself into the world of anime and manga and the sub-cultures that consume and make it. This, of course, meant going straight to the source and talking with the directors and animators where it is all made in Japan. It is good that right from the start, they make it clear where the genesis of this project came from, it was a Netflix project and Alex was hired to make it. So when the documentary goes to Adi Shankar the creator of the Castlevania Netflix series as its first interview it feels like the right jumping-off point for the show. Well instead of jumping off from there, this is where the show stayed.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese

TL;DR – An interesting juxtaposition of the past and present, through music, Bob Dylan, and a very particular look at the 1970s.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Recently I’ve been listing in to a weekly Twitch podcast about music, exploring all the different genres that had no experience with. This has gotten me more interested in exploring the world behind music and Hollywood’s recent biopic spree has helped a bit in this regard. But when you find that a film about Bob Dylan has dropped on Netflix, by Martin Scorsese no less, you stop what you are doing and jump back to the 1970s.

So to set the scene, Rolling Thunder Revue tells the story of Bob Dylan and friends tour across New England and beyond during 1975. This was a year where America was at crossroads, Nixon had just resigned, the Vietnam War debacle was still in everyone’s mind, and economic recession had started in places of the Rust Belt. All in all, it is a time very similar to the one we find ourselves in right now. It is at this moment of flux that Bob decided to get a group of folk/rock pals and do a tour, something he had not done in a while, and we get to see it all.

Continue reading