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Sunday, August 28, 2016

There's More to Life than D&D...

Yep.  I said it.  There is more to life than TTRPG's.  You wouldn't know it by the posts I normally drop here, but I do think about more than playing RPG's.

This was not a weekend for gaming.  Instead, I spent alot of my time around the house cleaning, cooking for my son (he's 11, and a foodie), and watching movies.  It's the movies I wanted to talk about today.  It's the movies that made this weekend a good one.

Yesterday, my son and I caught the matinee of Kubo and the Two Strings.  If there has been a better animated film in the last decade, I missed it (and trust me when I tell you, I didn't miss it).  This film had everything one could ask for, and with ticket prices swelling over $10 (not even gonna talk about how much popcorn costs) it's rare that I feel that my hard earned money was well spent.  This film is an exception, and it's exceptional.

I'm not going to bother with summarizing the plot, which you can read here, but instead just want to go over the things that I was impressed by.  

The animation was superb.  Meant to mimic claymation it was beautiful in all the right places, and jagged and jarring with purpose to invoke the same feeling you would have watching old Rankin/Bass Christmas tales when you (well, when I) was a kid back in the 70's.   Set in (what I think is) ancient Japan, much of the focus of the movie is on the art of Origami, which was particularly great employing this animation style.  I was drawn in from the opening scene, an ocean angry and dark.

At the heart of this film is it's story.  Deep and moving and filled with wonderful characters who were very three dimensional, the story arc is a wild ride that had me on the edge of my seat, and rooting for Kubo, the hero of the story.  It is a story about family, about duty and honor, about love...and most interestingly to me, about stories.  Again, I don't want to give too much away...but this story has an ending you may not expect.  I was able to call out a few surprises that my son didn't quite get as early on as I did, but the film managed to surprise me more than once.

I am recommending you see this film, and try and hit the local theater to do it.  Yeah yeah, I have 60" of LED in my living room too, but this movie deserves the big screen.  If you can't make it in time to see it in the movies, you should still make a note to download....ugh..I mean stream it...or whatever the kids do these days. 9/10

Later that night, dinner cooked, eaten and cleaned up, I sat and watched The Man who Knew Infinity.  

The story of the life and academic career of the pioneer Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan, and his friendship with his mentor, Professor G.H. Hardy.

Dev Patel was phenomenal.  If you enjoyed him in the Marigold Hotel films then you will very much enjoy his performance in this film as Ramanujan, the famous mathematician.  Jeremy Irons seems to have two modes...he pops up in strange, pop-ish films and throws a low-end or campy performance which is fine, but never great as the movies are not great ( I have to say it?  Profion in the first D&D movie which should never have been made?).  Then he elevates to this amazing place, a lofty performance cloud hovering above Olympus (Reversal of Fortune or Dead Ringers are just two of his best).  His performance here seems on par, an initially cold and aloof mathematician, he eventually breaks and the emotions become difficult for him to manage.

A great movie.  Watch it.  Bring tissues. 8/10

Finally, today I sat and watched The Legend of Tarzan.  I didn't expect to like this film, but instead I fucking loved it!  Ok...full disclosure here.  As a kid the late 70's/early 80's I loved me some Saturday morning cartoons, and the Filmation version of Tarzan was a BIG favorite of mine.  I used to jump around on the furniture and pretend I was Tarzan, and my dad would yell when I would call out like Tarzan at the end of the intro.

Finally a Tarzan movie where the origin story is clipped into the background so we have a good TARZAN story!  His relationship with the animals, his relationship with the natives...It was all very refreshing, and alot of fun.  This isn't a deep movie.  This movie won't win any awards.  This movie IS what a Tarzan movie should be, which is a great update to those cool Johnny Weissmuller films I enjoyed on Sunday afternoon as a kid.  Finally a movie based on an ERB property that he can be proud of (ok, maybe he didn't roll too hard in the grave about John Carter of Mars, which could have been far better). 8/10 that's it for life outside of playing.  For those who care I cooked Ground Beef Pepper Steak, Italian Pork tenderloin, and some Chicken Burrito Filling this weekend for my son and for the week ahead (I'm also a meal prepper, which I think is the way to go!).  

Next week...back to the normal posts about game stuff..which I'm sure is more interesting than my 'actual' life or my movie reviews.

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