Spirits’ Homecoming (2016)

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Spirits’ Homecoming was released only earlier this year, which is why unlike pretty much every other film covered by this blog, it has yet to be honored with any awards. It’s a sure thing though that by this time next year it will earn plenty of awards if only because of public sympathy for its subject matter. I’m less certain that it deserves such honor based on its merits alone as it’s just not that good a film but I will agree that it’s worth watching anyway for its historical significance.

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Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! Parts 1 & 2

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As I’ve mentioned plenty of times elsewhere, I grew up with gamebooks as a kid and I’m still fascinated by how they could be adapted to digital media. The Fighting Fantasy books were never my personal favorite series but I was always impressed by the incredible variety of genres they included. It’s not a big surprised that I preferred the non-fantasy books to the all too common fantasy ones. This computer adaptation of the standalone Sorcery! books unfortunately is fantasy but they’re pretty much the only ones available so far. Since I never played these books back in the day and I am intrigued by how well they pulled off the adaptation, so this was one of the main reasons why I plonked for that narrative bundle a while back.

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Baraka (1992)

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Browsing the Lowyat forums for opinions about cinema is usually like diving into a cesspit but this one was an interesting suggestion that I believe I first saw there. Completely by coincidence, it also shares a similarity with the other film we watched this week: like The Hateful Eight, Baraka was filmed in a 70 mm format though this one used the even rarer and now defunct Todd-AO system. This film fully justifies the expansive format though as it is a documentary with absolutely no narration and no dialogue. Everything therefore rests solely on the power of its visuals and the brilliance of its musical accompaniment.

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The Hateful Eight (2015)

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I can’t say that Quentin Tarantino is one of my favorite directors but his Pulp Fiction certainly led some of my earliest realizations that the cinematic world is larger and richer than I had imagined. I’ve since watched nearly all of his films and while they usually each have their good points, none can really match up to his earliest works. In particular, I thought Django Unchained was a beautifully shot but rather generic action movie. I probably would have skipped this one if it weren’t for the fact that the posters on Broken Forum had some interesting things to say about it.

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Kerbal Space Program

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After months of playing this, I’m think I’m finally ready to put it down and write a post about it. I’ve since clocked well over 200 hours on it according to Steam, well above anything else except Skyrim, and I still haven’t come close to doing anything. I’ve gone everywhere with probes, landed Kerbals on the major, easy to reach planets and moons, and set up some cool orbital and surface bases. But I’ve barely played around with space planes, I’m never going to send Kerbals on a one-way death trip to Eve and the very thought of trying to grab an asteroid in solar orbit and bring it back to Kerbin fills me with chills. Even so I think I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth and I’m stopping here before it sucks up all my life.

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Chinatown (1974)

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This is the first film by Roman Polanski to be featured on this blog and only the second one I’ve ever watched, after Rosemary’s Baby some years ago. While Polanski can be fairly said to be among the great directors, I’ve been reticent about adding his films to my watch list due to his awful personal reputation. I have no doubt that his films are no good but it’s easy to keep putting off watching them if every mention of his name reminds you that he is still a fugitive from justice. Still, Chinatown is considered one of the best noirs ever made so I know I’d have to get around to watching it eventually.

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What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

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When I told my wife that this next one is a New Zealand horror movie, her reaction was “What? Again?” While two films does not a trend make, there are plenty of other examples to suggest that the tiny country is indeed carving a unique niche for itself in the world of cinema. Unlike Housebound, this one is pretty much a pure comedy with horror only as its theme. Its silliness is cemented by how it purports to be a documentary about vampires living in Wellington.

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The unexamined life is a life not worth living