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Yellow (流星)

Essays, Not Rants! 336: Yellow (流星)   I have A Lot of thoughts about the movie adaption of Crazy Rich Asians. Far more thoughts that I’ve had time to write down. Much of that is wrapped up in the fact that it’s set in Singapore and I have a very complicated relationship with that country, owing to it, well, being where I was born and the odd circumstances with which I’ve found myself returning there for the past decade or so.   So this blog post is not about that.   Rather, it’s about a song tha

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Swamped

Hey, checking in with you folks because I like you guys and this blog is a nice place to ramble.   Life's been busy. Did the BrickFair thing this year, which was a lotta fun.   I edited Episode 4 of The Invincible Osiris Jackson, which you should totally , especially if you're a fan of Kingdom Hearts.  I'm officially a proper Supervisor at The LEGO Store. Which means I'm responsible and stuff. I get a nice amount of latitude with what I do so I've room to figure out new ways to do stuff and a

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Watch This Web Series

Essays, Not Rants! 335: Watch This Web Series   Back in February I got hired to direct a web series. Which is a pretty cool sentence to get to type.   The web series, The Invincible Osiris Jackson, is quite easily described as a nerdy, gay romance. The showrunner and I both used Scott Pilgrim vs The World as a big touchstone for the series, both in its integration of video game tropes into film, and also its tone of both comedy and earnestness. After spending a couple months casting, finding a c

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Hogwarts Housing

Essays, Not Rants! 334: Hogwarts Housing   I’ve been on a bit of a Harry Potter kick lately. One reason is that LEGO revived the sets based on the movies so I’ve been seeing a lot of it at work. Another is that my girlfriend’s parents got us tickets to see Cursed Child (which is amazing) so there’s that too.   Having recalled that J.K. Rowling detailed a magic school based in the US — Ilvermorny — some time ago, and that she described the houses in that school into which students were sorted, I

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Artistic Stratification

Essays, Not Rants! 333: Artistic Stratification So the Oscars announced a new category. Is it something like Best Stunt, to acknowledge some of the crazy cool things stuntpeople and Tom Cruise do? Could it be Best Choreography for beautiful fights or films where the blocking of camera and actors plays like a dance? Maybe it’s for Best Color Scheme, which sounds totally arbitrary but you’ve movies like (500) Days of Summer and Pacific Rim that use colors masterfully. The correct answer is none

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Of Movie Subscriptions

Essays, Not Rants! 332: Of Movie Subscriptions   As I said last week, I have a real soft spot for not-great movies. I’ve also really enjoyed having a MoviePass in no small part because it alleviates me of some measure of financial responsibility for poor choices. The subscription nature of the service means that it’s not gonna cost more to watch a silly movie in addition to something I do really wanna see. And now with the service going sideways, I’m really gonna miss it.   It is an odd sorta id

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Good Bad Movies

Essays, Not Rants! 331: Good Bad Movies   I like bad movies. I really do. Take Outcast as an example; its plot is pretty simple: Former crusader Hayden Christensen winds up in China where he’s protecting the rightful prince from said prince’s vengeful older brother. Also, Nic Cage is in it as Hayden Christensen’s old mentor-turned-hermit who’s acting in a very different movie from everyone else. All this to say, it’s an utter delight. Not that it’s a good movie; Outcast has a host of issues, ran

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Tasty Words

Essays, Not Rants! 330: Tasty Words   If you’ve ever played the Pokémon Trading Card Game or Magic: The Gathering or really any trading card game, you’ll have read the little bit of text on the bottom. Not the copyright information, but rather the flavor text that tells you a little about what the card is and how it fits into the bigger world. Stuff about where that character might come from or what the geopolitical situation in the world’s like. These are usually really small blurbs, probably n

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Where Do We Go From Here? (Or Infinity War Part Two)

Essays, Not Rants! 329: Where Do We Go From Here? (Or Infinity War Part Two)   This post is going to be about what just might happen in the next Avengers movie. And about what happened in Infinity War too, so if you’re not a fan of spoilers, this is your warning.   I lost my voice when I saw the Infinity War’s stinger the first time. Seeing Captain Marvel’s symbol appear on Nick Fury’s space pager elicited quite the roar/scream from me for quite the obvious reason; she’s long been my favorite su

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Global Vessel

Essays, Not Rants! 328: Global Vessel I’m not really a sports person.   But once every four years I get really hardcore into a sport. I am, of course, talking about the World Cup.   Which should really come as no surprise. For starters, it’s got my mostest favoritest trope; the ragtag multinational team. They may be in competition, but there remains the fun of watching countries as disparate as Belgium and Japan share a stage.   Then of course there’s the fact that soccer/football is the sp

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Some Stuff From 2017 I Just Wanna Talk About

Essays, Not Rants! 327: Some Stuff From 2017 I Wanna Talk About   I did this last year, mostly as an excuse to enthuse about things I really like. I’m gonna do it again, listing some things from last year that I really liked. They mayn’t be the best thing in their category, but they’re really cool and I wanna pay attention to it! The three things here are all terrific.   Book: From A Certain Point of View, a collection   Star Wars will forever be my first love. A short story collection by a host

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Social Experience

Essays, Not Rants! 326: Social Experience   This week, Pokémon Go finally added a friends system. You can now add people as friends and there are fun little bonuses for working together. You can also trade Pokémon back and forth, assuming you both are in close proximity. It’s a wonderful addition and I look forward to checking it out in depth.   But it also raises a big question: Where was this when the game debuted two years ago?   (Also: It’s been two years since Pokémon Go came out?)   Think

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Adaptation By Someone Else

Essays, Not Rants! 325: Adaptation By Someone Else   One game that got some press at last week’s E3, the game industry’s annual event where games are announced and/or demo’d, was the upcoming Total War: Three Kingdoms. Apparently it was announced back in January, but I hadn’t heard of it until now.   And I am intrigued.   The Total War series are strategy games that unlike, say, StarCraft or Red Alert, tend to focus on real wars, be they Roman, Napoleonic, or set in Feudal Japan. They’ve been on

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On Rose and Trolls

Essays, Not Rants! 324: On Rose and Trolls   The internet is often a place as terrible as it is wonderful. This past week, Kelly Marie Tran, who played Rose in The Last Jedi, left Instagram (and social media in general) after months of sexist and racist harassment. Months.   This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened. Daisy Ridley (aka: Rey) left Instagram for much the same reason. Back in 2016 I wrote about Chelsea Cain leaving Twitter after being bullied for writing Mockingbird

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Genre Bending

Essays, Not Rants! 323: Genre Bending   Altered Carbon is an oddball of a show. It’s got a science fiction setting, but primarily draws on noir for a lot of its narrative structure. Beyond that, though, it draws on a whole host of other science fiction media for inspiration, to varying effect.   The show is science fiction noir in the stylings of Blade Runner. And it’s really, really heavily cribbing from the Blade Runner stylebook. You’ve got flying cars that don’t look a hair out of place flyi

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Space Cowboys

Essays, Not Rants! 322: Space Cowboys   I’m honestly surprised I didn’t stumble upon Cowboy Bebop earlier. It’s got a lotta my favorite things (cool ships, genre blending, a ragtag crew) and it is a maddeningly good show.   It also bears more than a few resemblances to another show about space cowboys that I love: Firefly. Or more Firefly resembles Cowboy Bebop, given that the former show came a few years after Bebop. Now, there’s a wealth of writing to be had about the similarities between the

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Motivated Acceleration

Essays, Not Rants 321: Motivated Acceleration   I am endlessly fascinated by mediums. No, not people who claim to talk to ghosts; rather the forms that stories can take. Why does this story work better as a novel? Why this a video game? Why that a play?   It’s usually adaptations where you can see the cracks that are the chasms between mediums. Consider the recent comic adaptation of The Last Jedi, which is essentially a beat-for-beat retelling, it doesn’t quite capture all the visual splendor o

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Professional

It's 1:30am and I have my day job in the morning, but I'm writing right now (and just finished another round of bourbon with bitters) and feel like rambling.   This weekend we wrapped production on THE INVINCIBLE OSIRIS JACKSON, a webseries about a gay, black nerd looking for love in all the wrong places.   A webseries that I was hired to direct.   As in direct a production for money.   I got paid to direct.   I emphasize these words because this is something I've wanted for years, heck, it's ba

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Between a Wookie and a Hard Place

Essays, Not Rants! 320: Between a Wookie and a Hard Place   A recent trailer for Solo, that new Star Wars movie about, uh, Han Solo, ends with a bit of a cliffhanger. A (space) train hurtles along its tracks around a mountain as a battle rages atop it. It comes close to the cliff side and hanging out the train is none other then Chewbacca, and he is heading straight for an outcropping. The Wookie appears destined to certain doom as the trailer ends.   The question of whether Chewie survives bec

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Top Nine Movies of 2017

Essays, Not Rants! 319: Top Nine Movies of 2017   So it’s almost halfway through the year and I’m finally putting together my year end list. For 2017. Yeah. Kinda forgot about it. And by forgot about I mean procrastinated.   Anyway! Here we go! Top Nine; leaving a space just in case there was something amazing I missed. And it was really hard to sort these!   9. Logan This one edges out Thor Ragnarok just by virtue of how singular it is (though Ragnarok is also quite singular in a different way)
 

High Stakes

Essays, Not Rants! 318: High Stakes   For a reason that can be tracked back to one specific thing that won’t be discussed due to spoilers, I’m thinking a lot about stakes. There’s this idea in a lotta stories that really good stakes are “will they die?” It was Game of Thrones’ modus operandi in the early seasons, and it was the explicit reason why Chewbacca was killed in the first book of the New Jedi Order book series. The logic makes sense enough, if there’s the chance that anyone can die in a

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Letting Lara Down

Essays, Not Rants! 317: Letting Lara Down   I was pretty excited for the Tomb Raider movie that came out a couple weeks ago. I’m a huge fan of the game it was based on, the Tomb Raider reboot that came out in 2013. The game was an origin story for Lara Croft, one that gameplay-wise took cues from the Uncharted series it had partially inspired but then been eclipsed by. One thing I really liked about the game was how it made Lara less of a sex object. Gone were the catsuits, short shorts, and cro

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Star Wars as an Anti-Capitalist Discourse

Essays, Not Rants! 316: Star Wars As An Anti-Capitalist Discourse   Oh you thought I was kidding? Here we go.   Star Wars takes a lot of cues from Westerns. Characters like Han Solo and places like Mos Eisley’s cantina make it pretty obvious. But it’s also apparent in where it takes place: the fringes of society. Be they remote planets desert or frozen, these stories take place away from economic and cultural hubs. Which, given that we follow the good guys, makes sense: implicit in the Star Wars

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The End of (Star) War(s)

Essays, Not Rants! 315: End of (Star) War(s)   After the original Star Wars trilogy wrapped up, Lucasfilm started letting other people play in the sandbox they’d created. And so the Expanded Universe came about: more stories set in the Star Wars universe continuing the adventures of Luke, Han, and Leia. Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy really kicked the EU into high gear, and an impressive series of novels, comics, and games were born, each crossing over and referencing each other. It’s a lotta fun

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A Celebration

Essays, Not Rants! 314: A Celebration   I’m a nerd. That kinda really goes without saying. Spend five minutes on my blog and you’ll see me talking about Firefly, giant robots, The Lord of The Rings, comic books, Jacques the Fatalist, and looking at video games through a surprisingly feminist lens. I really enjoy this stuff.   And over the years nerd culture has gotten more mainstream. Superhero shirts are in these days and Star Wars is cool again. It’s pretty neat to these things that used be ki

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