Last of Us S01

TV version of Last of Us reminds me of those videos where people cook mashed potatoes out of a box of pringles. Let me explain.
The game took the popular concept of zombie apocalypse, sprinkled it with colour, and let the player feel that they are in a movie. “Cinematic experience”, so to speak. TV version is… Just a zombie movie. Yes, with good actors, but I can’t even say that the writing is that good. It’s one thing when TV tropes are successfully re-enacted in a video game. It’s another when it’s just a TV trope in a TV show. And on top of that, they kept some video game tropes as well. Like the collapsing ceiling in the museum that blocks the path back.
I remember some complaints about the gay couple episode, but it’s actually good. Reverse gender of one of them, and it would still work. Just two lonely people in a post apocalyptic world caring for each other. The manly beards just make it a bit ironic. But also tragic. The good part of that episode is also the bad part. It’s a standalone story, that doesn’t have much to do with the Last of Us as a whole. But it’s a great story.
One bit that series does better than the game is explaining the origins of the virus, and why everything started falling in a day or two. Or maybe the game did that, and I forgot. The spores were in the flour, that was shipped around the world. The day Joel first doesn’t get pancakes, because they ran out of flour, then also forgets to get the cake, that’s why his family doesn’t get infected.
As a side note, I’m amazed how they found actress that plays Ellie’s mother, Anne, to resemble Bella Ramsey. Usually they don’t bother.
Speaking of tropes again, when you’re in a game, it’s only expected that you’d be able to kill 20 people. Otherwise, that wouldn’t be very challenging. But in a movie, Joel being able to mow down groups of raiders and what not kind of shows. But then, it’s honest to the game, at least.


Fallout S01

Finished first season of Fallout. It was phenomenal. Amazing how good the writing is, considering how bad it became in some other franchises (Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time).


The visuals are stunning, and the songs, some of them used in the games as well, undertone the dark humor of this universe.


Despite the series doing the usual dance: a naive character leaves his/her sheltered village/vault, and is on the hunt to find/deliver some MacGuffin. Characters have clear motivations, clear flaws, and in general, the acting is very, very good.


I was impressed by Stephanie, that manages to turn her character from that victim into something sinister in just one scene.



Babylon Berlin S01

It’s interesting to unpack how TV series are different from the book.
Charlotte in the book is referred to as “Charlie”, while in the TV series she’s called “Lotte”. In the book, she’s quite successful, and doing a work of an investigator, despite being a stenographer. In the series, she’s struggling to pay her rent with an one-off job at the police station.


Rath is immediately introduced as a “shaker”, having to rely on laundaum to stay in the police. In the book, he’s an occasional drinker, but not much else.


There’s a comic episode in the series which wasn’t present in the books: Rath and Lotte get the photos of their investigations mixed together. Rath works in Vice, and Lotte works in Homicide, so they have to sort together through pornography and murdered victims photos.


Fallout S01


I wouldn’t have never believed it if anybody told me that someone will manage to pull out a Fallout TV Series. But Amazon did.
For those that played the games, there are tons of references: PipBoy, Stimpacks, power armor, lots of accurately portrayed weaponry, the list goes on.


And for those who’ve never played them: the characters are surprisingly solid. The do-gooder is in line with the vaulters, and the Black Stormtrooper guy, Maximus who plays Black Stormtrooper again is nuanced.


The music is mostly from the games, so of course it fits and hits like a hammer. But the only way they could ruin it was by remixing. Thanks for not doing that.



Baby Reindeer

The Bear changed TV series. Uneven length of episodes, uneven number of episodes, the intensity, the closeups when you can see the pores on someone’s nose – Baby Reindeer has it all.
Main character is made to be quite unlikable: ruffled haircut, unshaven. It’s hard to see what anyone could find in him.
It is a story of confusion. Most stories are of linear growth: a character starts low, then with ups and downs reaches the top. I’m not sure this could be said about that story. At one point he mentions that he never convicted his real abuser, and in the last episode, he even goes back to see him and get another offer, because his abuser never learned any lesson. And with how the character behaves, going back on all his choices, it wouldn’t be surprised if he accepts the offer for the second time.
I think Baby Reindeer gets a lot of difficult things right: sexual abuse, sexuality changes, and the fact that humans are, unreasonable, in the end.


Clarkson’s Farm S02

Finished second season of Clarkson’s Farm.
Second season is mostly dedicated to cows. Some cows appear to be notoriously hard to get pregnant. And that means they have to be converted into burgers instead. And a single cow can feed 1000 people, apparently. Sounds like a lot. But 1000 people is not even a month of a restaurant opperation.


Also, there are badgers, that can transfer their tuberculosis to the cows, and are protected animals, so you can’t shoot them.


“History of Cut Street Fighter Characters and Designs”, Thorgi’s Arcade

Another interesting fighting video game history video.

There’s a lot of speculation, as usual, but the design of one character blew my mind 😆


Clarkson’s Farm S01

Finished first season of Clarkson’s Farm. I’m not sure how relatable it is for people outside of the UK, but for someone who’s been living there for quite a while, it’s spot-on. And has a lot of interesting details about what it involves to be a farmer.

For me, the most interesting part were the sheep. The relatioship of Jeremy genuinely caring for them, but then also liking the fact that boxes of mutton sell well and shepherds pie is tasty.

And as a bonus, there are those glimpses of British wildlife, like foxes, stupid deer and ridiculous owls.


Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

I’m simply amazed how much meaningful content they managed to squeeze into two hours of screen time. Time to wonder why Star Wars are not able to do the same. But we all know the answer, don’t we?
There is clear motivation for every character, there are brief but accurate explanations of the world setting, and each episode has it’s own well defined mood. Just the episode where heroes had to speak with dead barbarians could redeem another movie in my eyes.



Underdark action scenes are mind-blowing.


Standoff between two wizards is even better.



And there is a lot of respect to the source material, tons of references, instead of just making stuff up.


Succession S01

Completed first season of Succession.
It became my “flight series”, as I could watch it during takeoff and landing from my phone, as there isn’t much in terms of visuals.
Interesting how a story can be hyper-realistic and absurd at the same time. Kind of like Breaking Bad, I guess. But not as bad.
There are not a single character with redeeming qualities in those series. And no clear morals.
Does it make sense to continue buying cable stations, or should the company pivot? Is it immoral to sell family business, if the business is run by a demented tyrant, Logan? Would his weak son, Kendal, be a better alternative? Maybe by the end of the series there will be some conclusive answers. But that’s not a course in company management, after all.


Big Short

I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. Christian Bale and the guy from Blade Runner are great, but there is also the guy from Midnight Mass, and hilariously Kendal from Succession . And the evil guy from Umbrella Academy. Damn, I forgot the Umbrella Academy.
Breaking the 4th wall, led by Ryan Gosling, is something that movie does hilariously well.
The general tone reminded me of Dopesick, though. Everyone was “just doing their job”, “playing a system just a little”, and it all ended up in a huge disaster. But nobody paid the price for it. Except us, of course.


Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)

– Bombs?
– Moths. It’s Italian wool, and I love it.

At least this movie understands some signature elements. The sniper rifle, the .45s, the garrotte, changing uniforms.

It’s still ridiculous at times, like shooting a handcuff chain with a sniper rifle. But still.
The bait-and-switch with John Smith is pretty good. The idea of a female assassin is pretty good, considering we already had Hitman: Absolution.
The airport scene is pretty amusing. Again, a play on both changing costumes and avoiding cameras.


American Psycho

I decided that I need to fill the gaps in my education by watching American Psycho. And I didn’t get it. Maybe I wasn’t watching closely enough.
Like some bits of it are hilarious. The introductory monologue about vane morning routine. The “competition” around business cards. Or how during sex Patrick mostly interested in how he looks in the mirror.
And someone spoiled for me the fact that he didn’t kill people for real. But I expected that this was all more figural fantasies. While it seems that the story was about a mentally unwell person all that time.


The Bear S01

Finished watching the first season of The Bear.
It’s very novel, intentionally intense, unrealistic in being realistic.

The last two episodes of the season are just one example: one being 20 minutes instead of the usual 30, with all that time people screaming at each other. While the last episode is almost 50 minutes, with Carmy giving that speech about the relatioship with his brother for 6 minutes straight.


Of course there’s a lot of food closeups, which is expected. And you have to learn about Chicago culture, which I don’t care for much. And a lot of the kitchen jargon, which I found quite interesting and with “behind”/”corner” even useful sometimes.


Escape from LA

I guess that watching “Escape from LA” standalone might be alright, but watching it a few days after “Escape from New York” is a strange experience. There’s a 15-year gap between the events of the two movies, and a 15-year gap between the original and the sequel being filmed. But despite it being a sequel, it feels more like a remake because it follows all the same plot twists, just altered a little.


Here the differences begin to show. As I mentioned, “Escape from New York” was a zombie movie in disguise. This is a Western.


Again, Snake is caught and awaiting being sent to another prison island. Again, someone ejects on this island shortly before, this time not the President himself, but his daughter. Again, Snake needs to recover not so much as the daughter, she is to be disposed of, but what she carries in a briefcase. And again, he is injected with something lethal with a strict time limit. There is even a crazy ruler of the island that plans an escape. This time a Latino, and not a black guy, though.


This time Snake uses a submarine and acts as an idiot immediately, without waiting for the final sequence, as with the original minefield run, losing the submarine and thus his means of return in the process. Seeing the ruler, he decides just to take all his convoy head on, by himself. Here the budget begins to show: there are lots of explosions. The whole scene is just ridiculous, with Snake riding a bike on a single wheel, and fighting a guy on a horse for some reason.

Interesting how they tried to incorporate anything fashionable. In the original, Snake had to fight in a ring? Now he has to play street basketball. And the crowd cheers him in the same manner.


What else is fashionable? Surfing? Sure, Snake can surf!


Turns out, I vaguely remember the ending where Snake blasts the entire globe with an EMP, and Pam Grier’s character, which is supposed to be trans, a novelty in ’96.

I also misremembered, thinking that throughout the movie, characters are referencing to the events of “Escape from New York.” They mostly talk about Cleveland, which is never depicted in movies, but was retconned in comics.

The only notably good part is the ending. It ties nicely the ticking virus plot (which turns out to be a fraud, nothing more than a flu), and the holograms from the beginning of the movie, and the fact that Snake refuses to take either side of the American fascists or the socialist invaders from Mexico and Cuba.


Escape from New York

Snake Plissken is a cult character. Although I’ve seen Escape from Los Angeles a couple of times as a kid (and I remember nothing), I’ve never seen Escape from New York. So, I decided to remedy it.

There are still some key elements that Kojima will exploit in the Metal Gear Solid series. Like Snake being tricked into accepting a lethal timed poison under the guise of “antitoxin,” or rescuing the president, where the goal is actually not to extract the president himself, but what he carries. An audiotape with nuclear secrets, apparently.


Also funny how Snake carries that now-iconic gun of his. In fact, it’s just a MAC-10 with a large silencer and a useless scope, but then every gun has a scope in this movie except the M16, which is the only gun that should have a scope. But he rarely even uses it.

It is basically a strange zombie movie, where the “Crazies,” cannibals living in the sewers, play the part. There are two “zombie” scenes. First, when the girl gets dragged under the floor, and Snake has to block a window with a bookcase. Then later, an escape in a car.


Then, there’s a “bum fight”. Snake and a former restler are given bats with nails.



And the most irrational bit is the mined bridge. This is the most irritating bit. This is a prison island. Who would place mines in a pattern that could be avoided with a map? And Snake acts as an asshole without any clear reason, just blowing up a Cabbie on a mine, then Brain blows himself up on a mine without reason too. It’s like they just wanted to get rid of all of those characters, so they wouldn’t need to carry them over a wall.

Interesting how, by the middle of the movie, Snake gets an arrow in his leg and limps for the entire rest of the movie. And how almost every other character has heard about him, saying things like “I thought you were dead” or “What are you doing here?”.

Kurt Russell plays badly. Actually, everyone plays badly, except Adrienne Barbeau.




30 Years of God Game History, Indigo Gaming

There’s a very interesting note that Peter Molyneux wasn’t involved much in Syndicate, because he was always focused on a single game at a time.


Avengers Endgame

A very strange one. It starts with Iron Man almost dying, and then Thanos killed in 5 minutes.



Then in turns into that postapocalypse and “bringing the old team together”. There are a lot of references, some I did get, some I didn’t.


Then is the last part, Armageddon all over again. But I’ll admit, it’s slightly better this time.


Captain Marvel is a horrible character. I can’t believe they are trying to make a third movie about her.

It’s the epitome of a Mary Sue with a Karen attitude on top.

There’s no challenge, no conflict, just a one-woman-torpedo:





Finished watching Dopesick. There’s very little justice in real life. Although this is just part of the story, as the last episode focuses of indicment of a few Purdue managers, and we’re never told how Oxycontin sales were stopped, for example.
John Brownlee is a real prosecutor, although not as handsome in real life as depicted in the film.

*.AVI PC Gaming

Can you Beat Warcraft 2 Deathless? – Admiral Iddy

I enjoyed those two videos far more than I should have: