Archive for February, 2022

Cuphead: Don’t Deal With the Devil

February 28, 2022

Released in 2017, Cuphead became all the rage for YouTubers and Twitch streamers. The game met a lot of the criteria for a good streaming game. 1) The art and gameplay are interesting and easy to see 2) there is no voice acting so streamers can do funny voices and 3) the game is really difficult so it leads to both rage moments and colorful commentary. The peak of the game’s memetic popularity came when GamesBeat journalist Dean Takahashi failed to beat the tutorial for 26 whole minutes. Most people finish it pretty quickly. It does have some interesting concepts and the jumps require timing but even Mr. Takahashi admits that 26 minutes was crazy. It was a touchstone that each person who played it for an audience could not help but mention.

The plot of the game is a lot of fun and plays out like an old-school morality tale. Cuphead and his brother Mugman (both children) go to the Devil’s Casino. Cuphead is on a hot streak at the craps table. As is the case in any casino, this draws the attention of the staff and The Devil himself offers to raise the stakes. If they win their next roll then they will empty the casino of all of its riches. If they lose the next roll they forfeit their souls to The Devil. The Devil offers them a further deal. If they collect the souls of others who owe The Devil their soul then they will earn their souls back. The boys reluctantly agree to be bounty hunters for The Devil. They must face off against desperate creatures in debt to Hell, King Dice, and The Devil himself. However, the brothers have a plan. They figure if they can collect all of the souls, they can use that power to beat The Devil.

The game was such a labor of love. It was the first game created by Studio MDHR founded by Canadian brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer. The brothers had watched a ton of cartoons in the “rubber hose” style usually exemplified by Fleischer Studios (Betty Boop and Popeye) and early Disney (Mickey Mouse’s Steamboat Willie). They decided to lean more toward Fleischer. For those that are not familiar, the original Fleisher cartoons were surreal, crazy, and sometimes very creepy. They hired three animators to help with the art of the project which was quite a chore. The characters and backgrounds are drawn by hand which is astonishing. The backgrounds in particular are done in watercolors with some digital colorization.

The style really lends toward the craziness of the game. There are two kinds of levels. The first and most common type is a boss fight. These are against the debtors and they are a lesson in learning patterns. You are expected to die over and over as you learn each boss. Boss levels usually have at least three stages. The first is fairly simple, the second picks up the pace, and the third is usually maddening. For example, let us look at Clip Joint Calamity’s bosses Ribby and Croak. Phase one is facing off against both of the frog brothers on the right of the screen throwing projectiles at you. Phase two has the brothers being on either side of you with one throwing projectiles and the other generating high winds that hamper your movement. Phase three has the brothers merging into a huge slot machine that spews all sorts of BS at you depending on each pull of the lever.

The other type of levels are called Run and Gun levels. The point of these is to get from the starting line to the finish line. They require you to guide your character through a chaotic gauntlet as you shoot anything that moves and complete difficult platforming. These levels also can end with a confrontation with a miniboss who stands in your way and prevents completion of the level. Unlike the boss levels, you can beat a large percentage of run and guns by simply surviving to the end. This means you do not have to shoot everything. In fact, some of the enemies in these levels are invulnerable.

The game’s last levels are a pair of boss levels. You face off against King Dice, the manager of the casino who bet The Devil that the brothers would not collect the souls in time. He tries to kill the brothers so that he can win his bet and deliver the souls himself. His level involves rolling dice which determines a series of minibosses en route to King Dice himself. The Devil is the final boss, of course. He actually has four phases and is the hardest in the game.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the music in this game. It is filled from top to bottom with great jazz music similar to what you might hear in Fleischer cartoons but with a Cuphead flair. The whole soundtrack is great and was composed by Kris Maddigan. There are 51 tracks all performed by jazz and big band musicians. Only two of the tracks have lyrics. The first is the opening screen which is done by an acapella group that tells the story of the game. The other is King Dice’s theme which sounds reminiscent of Cab Calloway.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Atlantica Pt. 12

February 26, 2022

The Enchantress had gone right to work checking over the ritual site that Belle and Ariel had put together. She made little noises of approval and disapproval as she worked. She gestured with her hands and adjusted things magically, moving candles and chalk lines with pure willpower. Belle felt her temper rising with each sound that the woman made and eventually stepped out of the library to cool down. A little while later, Tiana found her sipping wine in another corner of the palace. Belle looked up as Tiana approached.

“How are you doing?” Tiana asked, sitting down opposite Belle. “Your nerves getting settled?”

Belle sighed and shrugged. “Just being near her drives me crazy,” she said. “thinking of what she did to my husband. I don’t trust her. I can’t trust her.”

“You don’t have to trust her after your experiences,” Tiana said. “I don’t trust her. I know Aurora doesn’t trust her and you can’t pull anything with Esmerelda around. I think Ariel wants to trust her.”

“Ariel has a good heart,” Belle said. “I’m glad that Aurora is around to protect her.”

“Me too,” Tiana said. “As much as I’m ready to get home, I’m glad for the people I’ve met. Yourself included.”

“Oh. I’m not always the best person,” Belle said with a dismissive gesture. “Sometimes I care about books more than people. I know it’s made me judgemental.”

“You are not your past,” Tiana said. “One thing that I have learned is that people can change if they dig down deep. It sounds like you’ve figured some stuff out. You just need to keep doing that work. We all have work to do.”

“Do you think the Enchantress could change?” Belle asked.

“It’s a happy thought,” Tiana said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Esmerelda poked her head into the room with a smile. “She’s done,” she said. “Are you ready to come back to the library?”

Belle nodded and stood up and Tiana followed her and Esmerelda back to the library. The Enchantress was front and center as if she was holding court. She was all smiles as she had been since she appeared. It was hard to trust somebody who was nothing but smiles. It was like she was a performer, always on stage.

“I’m actually very impressed with your work,” The Enchantress said. “You were pretty close to achieving a stable portal between worlds. Few mortals would be capable of that. I can only count on two hands the people with that power. Of course, what you made would have torn you apart if you got too close to it. It’s safe now.”

“Sure,” Belle said with plenty of doubt in her voice. “What do we do now?”

“First, I activate it,” the Enchantress said.

She walked slowly over to the edge of the room, glancing at Aurora’s sword for a moment as she moved. Seeing that glance made Belle smile just a little. The Enchantress focused on the center of the room and a portal formed with a rushing sound. It was a swirling maelstrom of energy.

“That looks like it will tear us apart,” Ariel said. “What did you do wrong?”

“Such trust issues,” the Enchantress said with a laugh.

“I’ve had my fill of witches,” Ariel said. “Prove to me that my trust hasn’t been misplaced.”

“Look, you just need to focus on a person, place, or thing with your whole heart and the portal will take you there,” The Enchantress said. “Try it and see. I’ll stand over here and not interfere.”

Belle stepped up to the portal and she could feel a slight tingle as she got close to its energy. She closed her eyes. She thought, of course, about Adam. She thought of the fights they had, him saving her from the wolves, standing up to him, the little kindnesses that had broken the dam and let the love flow. She thought about his smiling face. Both of his smiling faces. She found herself smiling and she noticed the rushing sound had gone away. She opened her eyes and there was Adam but he was back in Beast form. He was standing with a brunette man, a beautiful woman, and a hulk of a man with so many tattoos.

Suddenly, Adam looked at her and his Beast form turned human yet again like it had that day on the castle battlements.

“Belle?” he asked softly.

Belle lept through the portal and into his arms.

Media Update 2/24/22

February 24, 2022

The King’s Man

I have loved this franchise since the first movie dropped as it is a breath of fresh air with a mix of serious drama and wacky shenanigans. A very real alternative to both James Bond and Mission Impossible, the franchise has not dropped the ball yet. This movie is a prequel detailing how the Kingsman Agency came to be created. The story takes place during World War I and incorporates actual real political and historical figures. Ralph Fiennes is excellent as a British duke who moves behind the scenes to help. Djimon Hounsou is so good as the stoic warrior. Gemma Arterton is fun as the sassy yet militant woman. Harris Dickinson is good as the lantern-jawed good boy. Rhys Ifans is absolutely insane as Grigori Rasputin. There are also great performances by Matthew Goode, Charles Dance, Valerie Pachner, Daniel Bruhl, and so many more. It is a crazy and fun romp from start to finish. I recommend this movie.

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

The first movie was definitely a surprisingly funny and exciting movie partly because the cast is so good. The pairing of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson returns in this one. Reynolds is his usual quippy and delightful self. Jackson is just as rude and bombastic as usual. We also get the addition of Salma Hayek who plays a foul-mouthed psychopath. The chemistry and dialogue between the three are so good. They are a laugh riot together. Throw in Antonio Banderas, Frank Grillo, Morgan Freeman, and more and you have a great cast. The action scenes are great too with both drama and comedy mixed in. The movie hit just right. I recommend this movie.

Assassination Nation

I have had this buried in my list for quite a while and now seemed like a good time to give it a chance. The movie is beautifully shot with an interesting production design vis a vis the color choices. The movie stars Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Abra, and Hari Nef as a group of young girls caught up in violent chaos in suburbia. There are also appearances from Joel McHale, Bill Skarsgard, Bella Thorne, Anika Noni Rose, Colman Domingo, and more. This is a wild movie and not for the faint of heart as its list of trigger warnings is long (and literally appears at the beginning of the movie). It is violent and sexual but it also has some important messages. Seriously, this is a deeply uncomfortable movie (and that’s coming from an avid horror fan) but in the end, I am glad I watched it. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

FPM (Official Video) – Jazz June

Spirit Machines – CATCH 22

HAYDAMAKY – Wooden Shields

Caleb Colossus (ft. ChiChi) – Psycho

Mashup of the Week:

Raheem D – We Don’t Talk About Bruno Mars

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Choose Violence”
I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch
I watched more AGDQ 2022
I watched more The Mentalist Season 5

Rolling Stone Top 100 pt. 11

February 21, 2022

60. Sex Pistols – God Save the Queen

There is not much to choose from since the Sex Pistols only produced one official studio album. Of course, every song they put out was great. I chose this one because it is a huge middle finger to authority in the devil-may-care style of the Sex Pistols. The song is messy but still pleasing to the ar. My favorite story about this song is that it was banned from radio play because the British love their monarchy more than their people. The band was not to be deterred and decided to put on a concert on a boat in the Thames River so that London could hear the tune. The London police raided the concert but only managed to arrest the band’s manager and entourage while the Pistols managed to slip away and avoided capture.

  1. Metallica – Of Wolf and Man

One of my favorite songs ever for obvious reasons. As is plainly visible, I have an affinity for the wolf for many reasons. This song captures the strength and the cunning and the danger of the wolf. It is a spirit that I try to summon when I am feeling anxious or undeserving. Nothing tops James Hetfield’s growly voice. There is a reason that he is a legend. Couple that with the excellent guitar from Kirk Hammett, drums from Lars Ulrich, and bass guitar from Jason Newsted. This was my favorite lineup of the band at the height of its power. Apparently, their manager thought the song was silly at first not understanding that symbolism is where Heavy Metal really shines.

  1. Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi

Joni has gotten back into the news again lately because of her stand against Spotify and the known racist Joe Rogan. Joni was a legend who was offered to join the now legendary Woodstock festival, was unable to attend, but still wrote a song that described it perfectly. However, this song is her big hit, and for good reason. She was truly ahead of her time by delivering an environmental and anti-development stance. Her line “paved paradise to put up a parking lot” still rings so true, unfortunately. The song was written in Hawaii which has a history of destruction by white developers. The song itself has such a pleasing melody as well.

  1. Tina Turner – The Best

I feel like everybody within the sound of a radio, television, or movie theater has heard this song since it has been used commercially so many times. It is hard to match the bombastic, louder-than-the-world style and voice of Tina Turner. Her voice is defiant and her instrumentation always matches her well. This is a cover from Bonnie Tyler the year before. The two artists have similar styles but Turner gives her version more soul and more force. Turner also did not just cover the song, she approached the songwriter Holly Knight and had her alter it to suit her desires.

  1. Etta James – Tell Mama

Apparently, Ms. James herself did not really care for this song and often left it out of her sets because she did not see herself as “the Great Earth Mother, the gal you come to for comfort and easy sex.” Regardless, she did credit the song for reviving her career at a critical time and thanked her producer Rick Hall for convincing her to do the song.

  1. The Kinks – Father Christmas

I did not expect to see a holiday song at all on this list but here we are two-thirds through and we landed on probably one of my favorite songs to listen to around Christmas. It is probably The Kinks’ most punk song and one my mom kind of disapproved of two years ago. The song talks about how gifts are great for the rich but what the poor need is cash and jobs. In our system, cash equals freedom. The music itself is a lot of fun as Ray Davies snarls an anti-class message. Dave Davies’ guitar is especially great here.

An Easy Favor Pt. 6

February 19, 2022

The next day, Hawthorne set out on his last day between prison and his new job. He had to search out Art’s daughter that day because he did not know when his next day off would be. He also owed it to the old man to keep his word about passing on the message. It would probably be awkward but if he just got through it and stayed polite, he could get out of her hair with minimal fuss. He knew that he came off physically imposing. His height was already towering but when you added on the metal arms and back, he could easily be mistaken for a monster. Thankfully, he had covered his face throughout his criminal life which had kept his face unscathed.

A cart on the corner was selling delicious breakfast sandwiches with a handful of hash browns in a sack. Hawthorne was in heaven as he sat on a bench for a little bit and dug into the food. His mother had always chided him for eating standing up and eating while walking was absolute insanity. Besides, sitting allowed him to focus on how good the food tasted. It was greasy and salty and probably horrible for him but at that moment he pushed such thoughts from his mind. He just focused on each perfect bite and even found himself closing his eyes.

When he opened his eyes, he saw a young woman on the other end of the bench staring at him. He blinked for a moment and then turned away before he was caught staring. Then he realized that the woman was the same one he had seen entering the halfway house the night before in the rain. She looked a bit different now that she was dry but there was no mistaking her eyes. He thought for a moment that she was following him but there was no way that she had seen him through the one-way window the night before. She was probably just waiting for a bus. He got to his feet as nonchalantly as possible. He tossed his breakfast trash and went on his way again.

He was finding it hard to shake off the paranoia that had kept him safe in prison. A little paranoia was healthy but too much would give him a heart attack eventually. He reminded himself that this was his first full day out of prison. Adapting back to the real world would take time. He knew that getting into a routine and breathing the outside air a bit more would help clear his head and his heart. These things took time and he wondered if the Department of Corrections would pay for a therapy session or two. It seemed unlikely. His parole officer would have probably mentioned it if that was the case. He seemed to actually give at least a little bit of a damn unlike Erinyes and other Corrections employees he had met.

The place where Art’s daughter was supposed to be working was actually not far and it was a nice day for a walk. He was also just a little bit rattled to wait for the bus. He had plenty of time so he started to make his way through the streets of Baltimore. Things had changed since he had been inside. He had gotten a bit of a look while riding on the Jones Falls Expressway but you always got a better look when you were on foot. Hawthorne loved Baltimore and he had missed it a lot. He had tried to separate the city from his mind while he was inside. Some guys had talked about their home base all the time, trying to hold onto that for hope. Hawthorne had done the opposite, he had made the prison his home. Now he had to find a new home. He thought he would pass through Baltimore to find that home but now he could not imagine leaving the city again.

He wondered what he would do for lunch. He was walking over to Mount Vernon so there should be several good restaurants in the area. He wondered how many of them might refuse him entry. He was looking a bit scruffy and could probably use a haircut and a beard trim. If he was looking for jobs he probably would have shaved the beard off. He shook his head gently. He was too much in his own head. He needed to just stay in the present for now until it made sense to think of the future. Just enjoy being out and having some of his freedom returned to him. He briefly watched a trio of seagulls fight over a bagel.

He stepped onto Charles Street and it was just as bustling as it had always been and he was a bit overwhelmed. He waited at the crosswalk to get across the street for a while and then hurried across. Even with plenty of time, he still got honked at. It was not worth it to get angry. The elevator at the office building was taking a while so he took the steps. He climbed three stories pretty easily. He was still in shape.

“Excuse me,” he said to the guy at the front desk of the office. “I’m here to see Marianne Grover.”

“She just stepped outside,” the guy said without looking up. “If you hurry you can catch her. Unless it’s business. If it’s business you can take a seat.”

“Thanks,” Hawthorne said. “It’s not business. He walked back toward the stairs and hustled down them. That explained why the elevator was in use. If he had just waited, he might have caught her. He reached the bottom and stepped outside and saw a young woman hanging up her cell phone. “Excuse me, Marianne Grover?”

The woman turned around with tears in her eyes. “I’m sorry,” she said. “Whatever you want will have to wait. My dad just died.”

Media Update 2/17/22

February 17, 2022

Rosewood

I came to the opinion while watching Our Kind of People that I really like Morris Chestnut but I am not a fan of a lot of his career. When I found out that he was on a procedural, I definitely wanted to check it out. Chestnut plays a private pathologist with a state-of-the-art laboratory run as a family business. He works closely with the Miami Police Department but is independent of them. Chestnut is electric in the role of an eternally optimistic yet troubled doctor who I cannot help but like. His sister, played by Gabrielle Dennis, works in the lab and she is always testing her older brother professionally and personally. Anna Konkle plays the sister’s girlfriend and is an accomplished forensics expert herself. Jaina Lee Ortiz plays a tough detective who often gets paired with Rosewood. She is a mix of Miami and New York City attitudes. The show has a really good feel to it and the plot is just as interesting as the cool tech they use to solve crimes. I recommend this show.

Body of Proof

This show is about a former neurosurgeon who loses her career after going through a car accident. She reboots her career as a medical examiner. She is abrasive and hyper-focused on her job and being right but has a troubled personal life. Dana Delany is really great in the role since she is easy to dislike early on but then she hits you with a moment where you feel for her character. Nicholas Bishop plays her partner, a medicolegal investigator (kind of like a hospital cop) who is a former cop. Jeri Ryan plays her tough but fair boss who has to be concerned with budgets, reputation, and helping people. She is backed up by two loveable character actors in Windell Middlebrooks and Geoffrey Arend. The cops are pretty great too in that they cannot really rein in the medical examiners. I recommend this show.

Forever

Dr. Henry Morgan has a problem. He is immortal in that every time he dies, he reappears in a body of water. His immortality has granted him a lot of experience which he uses as a medical examiner in New York City. He studies death to find a way to finally die himself but also to help people in the meantime. Ioan Gruffudd is very charming in the role, a sort of immortal Sherlock Holmes (but way more affable). Alana de la Garza plays the police detective who becomes entangled with Morgan. She is inquisitive and clever in her own right and not just a passenger along for the ride. Judd Hirsch plays an older man who is the only one who knows Henry’s secret and he is just as loveable as ever. I recommend this show.

Music of the Week:

GARAGE FUZZ – ELEPHANT

PENDANT – Thorn

VINCE STAPLES – “MAGIC

Chloe x Halle – Do It

Mashup of the Week:

BBoldt – Snoop Eastwood

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Medical Examiners With Issues”
I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch
I watched more AGDQ 2022
I watched more The Mentalist Season 5
I watched more Legends of Tomorrow Season 6
I watched more Blacklist Season 8
I watched more Terriers

Control

February 14, 2022

Control is a third-person shooter game with puzzle and platforming elements. It is a joy to control and the visuals are absolutely beautiful. However, what continues to captivate me is the game’s lore which seems inspired by stuff like Warehouse 13, SCP, Lost, Twin Peaks, Annihilation, and House of Leaves. It has that great level of weirdness that does not attempt to explain itself too hard.

In the game, you play as Jesse Faden. Jesse and her brother Dylan were involved in a supernatural event that threatened her hometown. A shadowy organization swooped in to clean things up and took Dylan with them. Jesse has floated through life since then, trying to investigate where her brother went and who took him. She tracks it down to The Federal Bureau of Control (FBC), a government entity. She arrives at their headquarters to get answers but finds the place being invaded by resonance-based creatures known as The Hiss who take over human bodies. She also finds herself replacing the deceased Director of the Bureau. She must now lead the few survivors in an effort to drive out The Hiss and save her brother from them.

Here are a few parts of the game that kind of illustrate its strangeness and how its mechanics work.

The Oldest House – A Brutalist skyscraper in New York City, the inside is shaped nothing like the outside. It is the home of the Federal Bureau of Control and is constantly shifting to accommodate the needs of its denizens or just if it feels like it. It must be stabilized through the use of rituals in order to keep things inside safe. It may be an updated form of Yggdrasil, the tree that is the gateway to other worlds.

Altered Items/Objects of Power – Altered Items are mostly what the name implies. They are physical items that have been touched by paranatural energies and given strange and dangerous properties. These objects seem to have “minds of their own” even though they are not sentient and must be tracked down and contained before they cause chaos, injury, or death. Objects of Power are Altered Items that have been touched by the Astral Plane and become conduits of power. Humans who are capable of it can tap into the object’s power to harness supernatural abilities. Examples in the game are a floppy disk that grants telekinesis, an x-ray box that allows you to take control of weakened enemies, a merry-go-round horse that grants the ability to teleport short distances, and a television set that allows one to levitate.

The Service Weapon – a specialized firearm that is linked to whoever is The Director. It has the ability to change its configuration to provide options in firing types. Those types are a machine gun, shotgun, sticky grenade launcher, sniper rifle, or missile launcher. The weapon is an object of power that is believed to change shape to suit the collective consciousness of society. That means that it may not have always been a gun and could have previously been mythical weapons like Mjolnir or Excalibur. Obtaining this weapon near the beginning of the game automatically proves that Jesse is worthy of being The Director.

The Hotline (to The Board) – This Object of Power takes the form of an old red rotary phone with no dial. Touching it allows The Director to have a direct line to The Board. The Board are beings that exist in the Astral Plane that do not seem to have physical bodies. They speak as one and may have a sort of group mind which results in an odd way of speaking. The Board helps govern the Federal Bureau of Control through undefined metaphysics through Objects of Power. The Hotline also allows The Director to communicate with other entities including dead people. This allows Jesse to communicate with the previous Director, Trench.

The Oceanview Motel – Probably the second trippiest mechanic in the game. This is ostensibly how people travel quickly around The Oldest House. When somebody pulls a drawstring three times, they are transported from wherever they were to the Oceanview Motel, a small Motel somewhere else entirely. By solving a puzzle dictated by the seeming sentient motel, you are granted passage to where you need to go. I still don’t completely understand it.

The Ashtray Maze – An object of power constantly creates an ever-shifting maze around it. The only way through is to use a special song to make it through. Just watch the above video.

Movie Pitch – Wonder Woman and The Four Horsewomen

February 12, 2022

(This is a movie I wrote to replace Wonder Woman 1984 in my headcanon)

It is 1939, over twenty years after Diana slew Ares and helped thwart and apprehend Doctor Poison. After attending the funeral of Steve Trevor and believing that her mission was over, she bid farewell to the human world and traveled back to Themyscira. Her return was bittersweet but she was happy to be among family again. After some time it became clear that Diana’s place in Themysciran society had shifted. Her killing of a god and the reveal of her true parentage both made her a celebrity and also caused people to be nervous around her. Few wanted to spar, conversations sometimes died when she entered the room. Even her old mentor/aunt Antiope and her friends Artemis and Phillipus treat her differently. Restless, she leaves the island again to wander the world.

Diana travels the world, learning more about the human world. This time, her travels extend beyond just Europe and she learns so much more. She travels simply, backpacking with her gear and lasso tucked away. When needed, she leaps into action to save the day but never sticks around. After Steve, she is not quite ready to be part of a team again. She also does not want to be worshipped like her godly predecessors. She visits old friends, Sameer, Charlie, and Chief. She briefly visits a reformed Doctor Maru who has spent her days developing medical technology under government supervision. Diana is horrified but not surprised that another World War seems to be in the wind even after the death of Ares.

Etta Candy reaches out to Diana and summons her to the War Department as a favor to Steve and his old military ties. Etta has become a small business owner, using her defiant and strong personality to make it in man’s world. Britain is calling on her to once again fight, this time against the Axis of Evil. The Allies want her to lead a force to Castle von Gunther to investigate what the Nazis are doing with a group of kidnapped scientists. Diana refuses help as she doesn’t want anybody to get hurt and she remembers how Ares disguised himself as Sir Patrick. She will go alone and make her own decisions on the matter.

Diana travels to the Castle and sneaks in. She discovers that German noblewoman Paula Von Gunther is conducting experiments on German citizens to create empowered soldiers. Diana goes to free the scientists and discovers she has been mistaken. Not all of the scientists are captives, and their chief scientist Baron Blitzkrieg is the one really in charge. He and his Four Horsewomen (including Paula) quickly overwhelm Diana with their superpowers. They take her alive and plan to study her to aid their experiments. During captivity, Paula visits Diana to try and turn her to their cause but Diana has more of an effect on Paula. Paula reveals that she and the other Horsewomen were kidnapped and forced to cooperate with Blitzkrieg’s experiments.

Antiope, Artemis, and Phillipus of the Amazons show up to rescue Diana, freeing her and bringing the fight to Baron Blitzkrieg and his small army. Diana, Artemis, and Calliope fight through the castle, making quick work of the Nazi thugs. They then face off against the Four Horsewomen in a brutal and chaotic battle. After a bit, Paula seems hesitant and throws down her arms. The battle continues without her and, in the end, Paula saves Diana by attacking Devastation and officially changing sides. The three Amazons and Paula then face off with Baron Blitzkrieg who has supercharged himself.

After the battle, Diana leaves the kidnapped scientists, collaborators, and the unrepentant remaining Horsewomen to the Allies to sort out. She and the Amazons decide to take Paula back to Themyscira to train her powers. Paula happily declares that Blitzkrieg had been right about one thing, Diana is a real “wunder”. Diana makes peace with her fellow Amazons and they tell her that her place is in Man’s world now and not because she no longer belongs in Themyscira but because she has a calling that they understand. Diana feels a bit more hopeful and resolves to help the Allies against the Nazi menace. In furtherance of that, she meets with Charlie, Chief, and Sameer and agrees to sign on as a founding member of their new organization called ARGUS.

Casting:

Already cast:
Antiope – Robin Wright
Hippolyta – Connie Nielsen
Phillipus – Ann Ogbomo
Artemis – Ann Wolfe
Etta Candy – Lucy Davis
Chief – Eugene Brave Rock
Charlie – Ewen Bremner
Sameer – Saïd Taghmaoui
Dr. Maru/Dr. Poison – Elena Anaya
Diana Prince/Wonder Woman – I can’t recast her, can I?

New Characters:
Paula Von Gunther/Warmaster – Formerly a young socialite, taken over by the Nazis and changed into a weapon of war and leader of the Horsewomen – Emily Osment, Olivia Ross, Sasha Pieterse
Devastation – The oldest member of the Horsewomen who fights with an almost feral style – Renae Moneymaker, Zoe Bell, Heather Bonomo
Armageddon – The largest member of the Horsewomen, a hot-headed and aggressive powerhouse – Demi Bennett, Kayla Rossi,
Genocide – The youngest member of the Horsewomen, sardonic and heavily disfigured from the experiments – Monica Beadnell, Heidi Moneymaker, Kriana Stanton
Baron Blitzkrieg – An unhinged and inhuman monster who is undyingly loyal to the Third Reich. He has been gifted Castle Von Gunther but results are expected. – Jason Isaacs, Thomas Kretschmann, August Diehl

Possible Directors: Julius Avery, Gareth Edwards, Babak Najafi, Duncan Jones

Media Update 2/10/22

February 10, 2022

Nightmare Alley

Every time that I hear about a new Guillermo Del Toro movie, I get excited. He is a consistently good writer and director and I have enjoyed all of his movies. This is actually basically two movies in one. One tells the story of a man’s rise through the ranks of the carnival world and the other is more of a film noir story about that same man’s schemes in polite society. The movie is beautifully shot from beginning to end with such great production design and cinematography. Bradley Cooper plays the lead and he is absolutely captivating as I watched his character arc. Rooney Mara plays a great kind and naive young woman. David Strathairn and Toni Colette are such fun and kind characters to watch interact. William Dafoe is once again great at being unhinged. Cate Blanchett is enigmatic and powerful in her role. I recommend this movie.

Archive 81

When I heard about this show, it was on the forums for a video game called Control that I have been playing (and will probably talk about soon). I knew it was a show that I had to see since it is definitely up my alley with weird world-building and vague science fantasy weirdness. The show follows a young man exploring a mystery through restoring videotapes found after a fire. The show is a combination of scenes from the present and flashbacks. The flashbacks are partly done in found footage style (but not annoyingly so). Mamoudou Athie plays the restoration expert in the present. He is instantly charming and likable (as he was in Unicorn Store) and compelling. Dina Shihabi plays a journalist/videographer of sorts who is doing an oral history of an apartment building. She is also instantly likable but also a bit strange in a way that is hard to put my finger on. I am excited to see where this goes. I recommend this show.

Secrets of Sulphur Springs

Seeing this on the menu of Disney+ gave me a real Gravity Falls vibe so I jumped to check it out as this week’s wild card pick. A family moves into an abandoned hotel in a small town and is instantly confronted with a mystery that involves both ghosts and time travel. Preston Oliver and Kyliegh Curran are the two leads of the show. Oliver is precocious, straight-laced, and inquisitive. Curran is charming, fun, and passionate. The two make a really good team together. I am only three episodes in (out of the current 17) and I love the mystery and the cast. I did not expect a lot of what has happened so far and it is always refreshing to be surprised from time to time. I recommend this show.

Music of the Week:

Rolling Quartz – Rock’n’roll Paradise

Fury – You Get to Hell First

Twin Temple- Let’s Have a Satanic Orgy

J Dilla – Fuck The Police

Mashup of the Week:

TheFandom – Shake It Off (Remix)

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Getting at the Truth”
I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch
I watched more AGDQ 2022
I watched more The Mentalist Season 5
I watched more Legends of Tomorrow Season 6
I watched more Blacklist Season 8
I watched more Terriers

Rolling Stone Top 100 Pt. 10

February 7, 2022
  1. Howlin’ Wolf – I Ain’t Superstitious

Another blues legend, this is the epitome of Chicago blues in the late sixties. The song was written by bluesman Willie Dixon and first performed by Howlin’ Wolf himself. Many would cover it but nobody could top the original. The music has that classic blues rhythm that is parodied over and over because it is accurate. Something just feels good hearing a blues band tramp its way through a blue song. There is something comforting to hear the creaking, tired voice of an old bluesman. I also used to be obsessed with bad luck and the various talismans of good and bad luck so I am a sucker for that subject matter.

  1. Eric Clapton – Cocaine

Clapton’s vaccine idiocy aside, he is a very well-regarded musician for a reason and there are plenty of problematic people on this list already. Clapton has made a living being a white blues guy and has done well with it. This song is a cover from the version written by JJ Cale that was released the year before. Clapton intended the song to be an anti-drug song however it ended up being a bit too ambiguous. I really like how the song sounds like the audio version of a bad cocaine bender. It sounds like the lights are too bright and things are a bit too loud. The twangy and discordant sounds of Clapton’s singing and the stumbling little rhythm really sell it. It feels like there is some distortion on everything, making everything feel off but groovy.

  1. Dr. Dre – Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang

One of the quintessential rap songs of a period when the genre was absolutely exploding. Dre was just debuting the first album of his solo career long before he quit to make headphones. Putting together an album without NWA must have been quite an experience. The track pairs up Death Row stablemates Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg who would go on to be legends of rap music. The two have very complementary styles. Dre is more forceful while Snoop is more lackadaisical. It puts the energy right in the middle in a comfortable spot. The track samples Leon Haywood’s I Wanna Do Something Freaky To You from 1975. It adds the perfect backing track for a chill rap song like this one. It is also not overproduced.

  1. Grateful Dead – Truckin’

The Dead was always just there when I was growing up until the very vivid memory I had of Jerry Garcia’s death. A friend of mine must have grown up with some hippie parents because he mourned hardcore. The seniors ahead of me in Stage Crew also used to use the term “What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been” a lot and it took me a bit to figure that one out. This is another song I associate with driving (for obvious reasons). It is such an easy song to listen to and fall in love with. The song speaks of the United States and everywhere a car might go and how much love for the land and the people there is. The song is a rock and blues fusion and the band called it a “catchy shuffle” which is a great description.

  1. Parliament Funkadelic – Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)

I was absolutely obsessed with George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at some point and in particular, I loved this song. Psychodelic Funk or ‘P Funk” is such a rich soundscape in every song. You have George Clinton’s gravelly baritone joined by the higher-pitched chorus coming in and then there is the mid-range voice coming in. It all mixes together so well. Like a lot of P Funk, the song mixes together jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, and so much more into a fun swirling maelstrom. It feels like a funkier version of Sly and the Family Stone or WAR. There is a reason that George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, and the company were known as the best in the business and a reason why this song is considered the best of the genre.

  1. Aerosmith – Walk This Way

One of the first albums I bought with my own money was the Greatest Hits. I still remember the clerk at the record store telling me to ‘play it loud’. Aerosmith has never been one of my favorite bands but I am never sad to hear them come up on the radio regardless of what song is playing. Aerosmith is one of those bands that is such a cartoon that is impossible not to smile. Steven Tyler especially has such a distinctive and weird presence to him. His high-pitched screaming is on clear display here backed by some fun guitar work. The guitar riff is particularly good.


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