04 February 2010

Cinematic Titanic Review: "East Meets Watts"

Quicker than promised, too! Recently, I had a chance to check out the latest Cinematic Titanic offering, "East Meets Watts". As stated before, it was a bit of a fusion film, joining both the HK chop-socky action genre with the blaxploitation genre with the 70s genre. The film itself deserved the riffing, yet would probably be decent cheesy 2AM viewing otherwise.

This is the first Cinematic Titanic offering that I have watched, and it did take a small bit of getting used to. Of course, you finally get to hear Joel, Trace, and (for the REAL oldsters) Josh riff the film, and you get the added bonus of Frank and Mary Jo also riffing. I've got a few of the S1 MST3k tapes (Thanks, Meg!) and it's really a blast from the past to hear the original crew. This film was riffed and recorded live, so you see all five of them around the side of the movie... which isn't actually all that distracting, to be honest.

If this is your first Cinematic Titanic experience, give it a bit of patience. All MSTed movies and fanfics have spots that lag and lull, and unfortunately I think that one of these spots happened from the beginning of the film and lasted for a bit. (It started getting better when the Chinese guy was departing from the boat, with Josh's Journey line). To be honest, I was not overly impressed with the beginning, but when the riffing picks up it shines. To be honest, it was even closer to the MST3k experience than Rifftrax is, if only because you can see the riffers and don't have to jiggle around a movie or a track, and you get the whole "cheap movie" phenomenon to boot. However, I'm glad that there's now two flavors of MST3k rather than just one (or, really, zero).

Riffing live was another good decision, I thought. Having a crowd there was terrific, especially when you could hear the reactions to certain jokes. Josh cracked a riff about twenty to thirty minutes in that took the crowd five seconds to process, but you could hear the laughter ripple once they got it. I also enjoyed hearing the cheers from the MST3k fans when the riffers did a few callbacks to the original MST3k, accompanied by Frank's (faux-)outraged splutter, "Pandering!"

Overall, this was a terrific movie and well worth checking out. I hope that they do more live shows, that was fun to see and hopefully the riffing will continue to shine. Considering the creators behind this, I can only believe that it will.

03 February 2010

Short games review, school, and AMFAS update.

Not much new or interesting to report through the last couple months... the latest MSTing is still going through a painstaking editing process, and we're pretty close to completion. Thankfully, Megane and I had hammered out a consistent time to get together to write these MSTings on a regular basis, which is better than it has been. It's a good thing we did too, because school and work and family is already a huge chunk of my life, and I just started playing three new games too: Dragon Age, Tropico 3, and Sim City 4 (the old-school $6 bargain game).

So far, Dragon Age is shaping up well, though I must admit that I'm completely unfamiliar with the interface. I'm used to console RPGs like the Final Fantasy type, rather than pointing and clicking on which enemy to deal with. (I'm so horribly out-of-it at times...) I'm enjoying the graphics and the game though, even if I can only install it on one computer (my laptop is the only one good enough to run it).

Tropico 3 is an updating of the original Tropico, which I still have. It's not a bad update, though I just started playing it and haven't really entered into the changes as of yet. The biggest one that I am glad of is a transportation setup; in the original game, people had to *WALK* to the various locations which always took forever. This was a problem because if you wanted to build tourist buildings, you either had to do it immediately or forget it, as builders would take months or years to get their lazy little electronic butts to the worksite, work for a few seconds, and leave. Hopefully this will make it a bit easier.

Sim City 4 is actually not too bad. The biggest issue I'm not impressed with is the fact that there's only a few regions loaded onto the game, and only two random ones. This, combined with the fact that building your own region would be a six- to ten-hour undertaking, is a major drawback. The gameplay is interesting though, even if it seems that this Sims is just as bad at times with simulating the actual game... I've had people tell me that traffic is bad even though they live one block away from their destination (in this case, their commute).

School is another matter, though... I can see why professionals get into the specially-designed degree mills, even if I think they're loads of crap. I had to skip a level in macroeconomics due to the fact that they did not have either an afternoon OR an evening division open. And now that I'm in advanced macroeconomics, I'm really finding a hard go of it. I'm using calculus that is either 12 years old or that I didn't have in the first place, and the professor is not helping matters much at all. Therefore, studying has been difficult at best too, because it seems that there's just no flow to the processes being introduced. I understand that college isn't the place to spoon-feed knowledge and information, but having a professor skip around haphazardly and call it "teaching" is incorrect as well.

Soon: A review of Cinematic Titanic's new(ish) offering, "East Meets Watts". Joel and the gang tackle the combined HK Action/Blaxploitation offering, but live!