Arrugas (2011)


My wife insisted on adding this one, along with many others, in an Chinese television show introducing a bunch of lesser known animated films from Europe. I dislike those shows as they have no qualms about thoroughly spoiling the films they talk about but I guess they can be useful for getting to know about works that one would never otherwise get to hear about. This one is from Spain, by a director named Ignacio Ferreras who is so new that he doesn’t have his own Wikipedia page yet.

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Red Army (2014)


I got this pick from Marginal Revolution and subsequently saw it as a notable film in a couple of other places. Tyler Cowen rated it very highly but after starting to watch this, I realized that I should have taken into account that Cowen is probably more of a fan of sports than I am. Anyway this is a documentary about the intensive, possibly torturous, ice hockey program that the Soviet Union ran as part of its propaganda machine during the Cold War.

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The Modern World: Global History since 1910

This is obviously the second half of the huge history course that I wrote about a couple of months ago. This second part is, if anything, even larger, comprising as many weeks and with videos that add up to a significantly longer duration. Naturally it’s also the part that will be most familiar and perhaps most exciting for people, including as it does in its scope the two World Wars, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and even everything up to the 9/11 attacks.

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Summer Palace (2006)


I didn’t plan for this as I had no idea what this film was about, but the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests turned out to be an appropriate time to watch Summer Palace. Director Lou Ye had impressed us with his recent Blind Massage and I believe I added this to our list as it is his most well known film. As to be expected for such a film, it was hugely controversial at the time, not only for its depiction of the protests and also for its sex scenes and its use of full frontal nudity for both male and female actors.

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Zelig (1983)


If you read through accounts of the career of Woody Allen, you don’t often see mentions of Zelig. That’s why it took a recommendation from our cinephile friend for me to take note of it. Partially because this is a mockumentary, this is one of the most unusual films I’ve ever watched. It’s also a film that is very much unlike anything else Allen was made, which might explain why it doesn’t get talked about much.

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Grandma (2015)


Grandma is one of those tiny, indie films that popped to the top of the lists of best films of 2015. I knew next to nothing about it except that it’s women-centric and is relatively short, meaning that it would be good to slot it in between longer films. It had a budget of less than a million dollars, a pittance by today’s standards, though it managed to gather some fairly respectable star power.

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Dark Souls 2 DLC


So I’m done with Dark Souls 2, or at least I am with the main character I started with. I have no intention of going to NG+ but I’ve already rolled a brand new character that I’m using to experiment sorcery with since I never messed with magic much in the first run. With the main character, I’ve now killed every boss except for the Darklurker and the inoffensive Ancient Dragon. I couldn’t find Darkdiver Grandahl again after meeting him three times and turning down his offer to join his covenant. To keep things nice and organized here are my thoughts on each of the three DLC in order:

Crown of the Sunken King

  • The vast, open world of this DLC consisting of Aztec-style pyramids connected to each other by walkways made a great first impression on me. I even loved the dim lighting. What cinched the deal for me were the movable columns scattered throughout the level and the way you’re encouraged to hit them from afar with arrows or something similar to open new pathways for explorations or just change the topology of the battlefield in your favor.

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The unexamined life is a life not worth living