All posts by wankongyew

Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand

Samuel R. Delany is of course one of the giants of science-fiction and I am once again embarrassed to admit that before this I have never read any of his works. I thought it was high time I rectified this hole in my knowledge base with this pick from Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great. The experience however left me torn. On the other hand, I have absolutely no doubt that Delany’s in an incredible writer and this is an amazing novel. On the other hand, what he does here is so far above my reading level that I can only grasp the merest fraction of what he’s going for and so I found it impossible to truly enjoy this book.

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Trivisa (2016)

It feels like it’s been ages since the last time I watched a proper, mainstream Hong Kong film while at the same I’ve had plenty of posts on this blog about Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese films. That is of course a reflection of the territory’s fading prominence. Just as China is becoming an economic center of the world so too is it slowly becoming a cultural center as well just as other superpowers before it have done. So it’s very apropos that this is precisely the theme of Trivisa, a film that was produced by Johnnie To but directed by a trio of first-time directors Frank Hui, Jevons Au and Vicky Wong.

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Chasing Coral (2017)

So we’re now so on top of current releases that we’re watching a prominent 2017 release. It’s so new in fact that it doesn’t even have a proper Wikipedia page yet. This is a documentary by Jeff Orlowski who became known a few years back for Chasing Ice. We didn’t watch that one but we might go back for it in a bit though if this title is anything to go by, it must be a horribly depressing experience.

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Seoul Station (2016)

Despite it being a rather conventional zombie film, I rather liked Train to Busan and so I had high hopes for this animated prequel by the same director Yeon Sang-ho, especially after hearing that it’s better than the better known live-action film. Despite being a prequel, it was made and released after Train to Busan so it was reasonable to expect that it would indeed be better. Unfortunately this was very much not the case.

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Drox Operative

This one was a strong recommendation by a Broken Forum member who is absolutely insane about space-themed games. Its developer is the small and independent Soldak Entertainment. I’ve never played any of their games but they made a name for themselves a few years back with their action RPGs set on a procedurally generated maps. The really big deal however was that unlike traditional RPGs in which quest givers are content to wait around forever for the player to get around to doing them,  in these games the world moves on even while the player does something else and quests can become irrelevant. There may even be other agents moving about the game world doing the quests if the player doesn’t get around to them in a timely manner.

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Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Paul Newman is one of Hollywood’s legendary actors but I don’t believe I’ve ever watched any significant film that he has been in until now. Cool Hand Luke turned out to be an excellent choice and I liked it so much that I immediately went to check if director Stuart Rosenberg, who I have never heard of before this, was another underappreciated director with a rich filmography to mine. Unfortunately while his body of work is indeed respectable this seems to be his best film.

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Hibiscus Town (1986)

This is one of the oldest Chinese films I’ve watched yet and I think the earliest one I’ve seen about the Cultural Revolution. In fact this was made so early that I was taken aback by what I perceived to be a very vicious critique of Communism and wondered how this could possibly have been allowed. I believe I managed to work out the logic in it later in the film however.

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