RPGA Film Studies cover

A Podcast Guest at RPGA Film Studies

Yesterday, Kalum from The Rolistes Podcast released an episode of RPGA Film Studies. Kalum’s guests this episode were Senda Linaugh of She’s A Super Geek Podcast and I! We discuss The NeverEnding Story, the 1984 film directed by Wolfgang Petersen. After talking (and laughing) about the movie, we also discuss RPG systems that would be perfect to adapt for The NeverEnding Story. Finally we also exchange stories and tips on how to run RPG sessions for little kids. I also talk a bit about running games for Irfan. Click on the image below to go to the episode podcast. The episode length is 1:06:03. Note: The episode was recorded months and months before Stranger Things season 3 made this the talk of the town again.

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Fake Galaxy Guide

A Last Jedi Review

No Spoilers Here We saw The Last Jedi last Wednesday on opening night. I went in with zero expectations. I did not read spoilers. I had no fan theories. All I wanted to do was to catch a Star Wars movie. Director Rian Johnson crafted quite a densely packed and layered film. After that, I needed some days to process what I saw and how I felt. As I wrote elsewhere, Star Wars has long ceased to be just movies for me, but a living universe. Stories in this universe serve as windows into this inspiring universe. Even The Phantom Menace could not do me wrong in this manner. This is because I myself have crafted a ton of Star Wars story outlines that turned into actual stories in my RPG sessions. However, my thoughts returned to a conversation about failure, and also a brief reunion of loved ones. I […]

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Droid trio

Star Wars The Force Awakens Review

We finally saw Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens the evening of the 18th, a day after general release. I discovered that trying to write a review about it was impossible for me. I will get to that soon, but what about the movie itself? It was to me an excellent Star Wars story with new characters interacting with the old, swashbuckling their way through space to save lives. I suppose the story beats did get too close for comfort to the original trilogy, but with characters that were amazingly developed and actors who had great chemistry with each other. It was a fun movie. Although there were some things that I did not like about it (such as how it was possible to see the First Order’s beam from a planet too far away), these things are trivial compared to the fun experienced from watching it. I loved […]

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I should have also drawn the Lawgiver

Day of Dredd

Earlier this week there was a drive via online social networks for a sequel of 2012’s film Dredd starring Karl Urban as Judge Dredd. Known as Day of Dredd, there were many posts and tweets about it across the internet. Even Psi Judge Anderson actress Olivia Thirlby herself made a thank you video for fans who helped with this drive. Dredd was an enjoyable, very tight, very focused story with just the right balance of grittiness and the absurdness of the future social dynamics of Mega City One. Its violence is very explicit, assaulting viewers with the atrocities of the film’s villains. It sets the tone for the grimness of the situation of having Dredd and the rookie Anderson trapped in a vast but somehow claustrophobic Peach Tower residential block by Ma-Ma, the local drug lord played by Lena Headey. Of course the dire circumstances only serves to  accentuate how […]

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Reichenbach something...

Some Iron Man Three Viewing Report

The onslaught of summer movies is upon us. We’ve caught the first of them, Iron Man Three. Here’s Irfan with Benedict Cumberbatch behind him just before he watched the movie. Yes, yes, yes. We saw Iron Man and not Star Trek that evening. SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT I SAID SPOILERS!!! Iron Man Three The story takes into account Tony’s PTSD he suffered after fighting Loki and the Chitauri army in “The Battle of New York City” during The Avengers. I guess you would have panic attacks when you are suddenly aware of a multitude of unknown and powerful alien species in space (and other dimensions). We hope he doesn’t go into full catatonia when he learns of highly evolved space raccoons. Aldrich Killian, the founder of AIM has Chinese dragon tattoos? Breath attack? Wears underpants? That’s Earth-199999’s version of Fin Fang Foom. How did they write around the fact that the […]

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It was released here a full week ahead of the USA

Avengers – A Review Of Some Sort

After five years of buildup by Marvel Studios across 5 movies from Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2009), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger (both 2011), we’ve finally reached its culmination this year in The Avengers for the Marvel Studios’ movie continuity, also know as Earth-199999. (Regular Marvel Universe is Earth-616, by the way.) Here follows a SPOILER-FREE review of the movie co-written and directed by Joss Whedon. Heck, I wont even give away anything by having a synopsis. Let’s start by addressing what worried me before watching this movie: Will they sideline Cap what with Iron Man being a more popular character in general? Cap totally earned his keep as leader and tactician of the Avengers. He proved his mettle onscreen several times during the final battle, not to mention a scene showing why even civilian authorities will listen to his orders. Will […]

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Forsooth! A Thor Movie Review!

[[image:thor-vs-destroyer.jpg:Drawn by Hisham:center:0]] A Thor movie. Can you believe it? Produced by Marvel themselves instead of licensing it out to another studio? Directed by Kenneth Branagh? I wish I could go back in time to tell 13-year-old, comic book fan Hisham how awesome the future will be in the movies. He would go nuts. In a good way. Mostly. So how does one adapt the tale of super-powerful Asgardians into a movie continuity that will also include Captain America, Hulk and Iron Man? It appears the answer to that is, “to totally embrace them as interdimensional space beings using supertechnology so advanced it appears as magic to humans”. And boy does it totally embrace that fact, and its Silver Age Comics origins – with some Ultimate Marvel elements. Make no mistake, this is not a primer to Norse mythology. This is a story where superheroes are kicking ass and taking […]

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Legacy of Tron: A Tron Legacy Review

[[image:tron-legacy01.jpg::center:0]] After 28 years, the sequel to Disney’s Tron is finally upon us. Tron Legacy, produced by the original movie’s director Steven Lisberger and directed by newcomer Joseph Kosinski, had a unique problem. Tron had a connection to the computer and gaming lore of the late 70s and early 80s, with its simple vector graphics and sounds. The home computer for the consumer was still rare. The general public had very little clue on how computers work. The World Wide Web is still almost a decade away. How can one create a modern sequel to a movie based on anachronistic world view of technology? Very simple. Just build upon the even more fantastic elements of the first movie and move on from there. SPOILERS BEYOND! SPOILERS!  The first movie appeared to visually be the inner workings of a computer. But if you think about it, how can you make actuarial […]

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A real estate nightmare

Lord Morpheus Will Want To Have Words – An Inception Review

Inception is by far one of the most enjoyable science fiction movies in recent memory. I went in cold, save for information gleaned from the trailers. I knew it was a heist movie where characters try to steal information from their marks via shared dreams. What I got was a story that was surprisingly not convoluted, where exposition – all the “if / then explanation” – was delivered in advance and easily understood. What was explained was still pretty fantastic, and when the fantastic occurs onscreen it takes your breath away. Spoilers to follow! SPOILERS!  Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan, tells of a group of people that are paid big money to illegally infiltrate a target’s subconscious and coax (read: steal) information from them through their dreams. The opening scenes illustrated how it is done, what dangers are involved, and what happens if they fail – which they […]

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Andy's toys are faced with the terrible concept of mortality

Latest Movie With Totoro Reviewed – Toy Story 3

One might be tempted to review Toy Story 3 as such: “The toys from Andy’s room return in the third installment of Toy Story for another wondrous adventure for the children, reuniting the voice talents of Tom Hanks as Sheriff Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, the Grand Nagus Vizzini as Rex the Tyrannosaur, Major Derlin as Hamm and the ghost of Jim Varney as Slinky Dog”. But movie is far more than that. It’s a perfect bookend for the trilogy, dramatically and visually. It’s been 10 years since the first movie and Andy’s all grown up and is ready to move out to college. All his belongings are going to be either stored in the attic or thrown away. Andy has decided to store his remaining toys in the attic, much to everyone’s relief. It wouldn’t be the great and fun life they […]

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Stark and Rhodey

Don’t Mess With Mickey’s Cockatoo – An Iron Man 2 Review

Tony Stark is back on the big screen again in Iron Man 2. And this time he’s brought more friends as well as enemies. General thoughts about it after watching it last Thursday: Another awesome movie which Robert Downey Jr. starred as Tony Stark, but also allowed every character to shine. No one was wasted. The story is much more complex, which I guess made it more difficult for the filmmakers to make a tighter movie like the first one. But excellent performances around and a much more epic final battle (that made the first movie’s a little two-round bout) made up for it. As per the first movie, unlike most modern superhero movies no one dresses in black and broods like a 16-year-old. Maybe, they find themselves in deep thought for a bit, but after the apparently-therapeutical “engineering montage” everyone’s happy and eager to fly and blow crap up. […]

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Where the hell is my live-action Robotech movie

Prawn-flavoured Keropok: A District 9 review

A gigantic spaceship appears in the skies above Johannesburg 28 years ago. A million starving insectoid sapients are found in the ship, and ferried ground-side. Now, a guarded slum area called District 9 exists in Johannesburg that tries to keep these alien “prawns” away from humans, while the Multinational United (MNU) administrates District 9 as it attempts to pry secrets of alien technology from the dumb prawns for profit. The movie District 9 doesn’t have a particularly original storyline. In fact its premise is largely based on and a commentary on the apartheid in South Africa. It’s not really very hard sci-fi, with a lot of the science relegated to background. We see and marvel at alien technology and its effect but we don’t go into details. Its hand-held shakycam effects are not as motion sickness-inducing as say The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield, but it does have some jitter […]

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Walking Through A-Deh-Deh-Deh Like That – A Terminator Salvation Review

In the first Terminator movie, if time travel convention is to be adhered to, just before John Connor’s troops stormed Skynet and was on the verge of destroying it in Timeline A, the human resistance is screwed the moment the T-800 Model 101 went back in time moments before Kyle Reese did. What actually did happen? Was that Skynet destroyed in Timeline A even as the T-800 terminated Sarah Connor in a new divergent timeline (Timeline B) in which case John Connor never existed and Skynet was triumphant? From Timeline A, Kyle Reese went back and stopped the Terminator creating Timeline C. Do all these three timelines exist simultaneously? If you didn’t stop to think about it all however, thanks to the superb direction, story and visual effects – if you are sufficiently entertained – then Terminator was a flawless movie. Similarly with Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the movie was […]

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Graveyard of starships

I’m Just Gonna Title This Entry “A Star Trek Review” Okay?

Doctor Who. Yes. You always have at least one scene (and usually more) in every episode of the show. You know the kind of scene they have: “Run!” “Doctor?” “I said, run!” “Did you say…” “RUN!!!” And then present company goes tearing down a corridor or a hallway or an alien cave at top speed being chased by a monster or an alien or both, usually lethal. That’s the kind of energy I found in almost every other scene in the new Star Trek movie which is entitled, uh… Star Trek. When I heard this project being announced I didn’t feel any apprehension or outrage or elation over it. I was all Star Trekked out. Younger actors portraying the Original Series’ characters. Young Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Trek 90210. Yeah, whatever. But closer I got to the release, the closer I got excited about information that leaked out of the […]

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Dog Carcass In Alley This Morning, Tire Tread On Burst Stomach

[[image:200903-watchmen1.jpg:L-R Peacemaker, Nightshade, Captain Atom, Thunderbolt, Blue Beetle and The Question:center:0]]The limited series comic book Watchmen was released by DC Comics more than 20 years ago. Written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, this comic was the start of a new age in the medium. Along with its contemporary, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, it deconstructs the superhero genre by showing us what extreme conditions can produce costumed crimefighters, what kind of personalities they have and what happens to them when they are considered illegal… all existing in an alternate 1985 timeline where Nixon is still the president of the United States and the world is living in the shadow of imminent nuclear war. Because of the very rich and detailed storylinetold within the space of 12 issues and several fictional documents per issue, such as book exceprt, interviews, letters, news and magazine clippings to support the […]

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Undoubtedly The Best Malay Movie Ever Made

In January I promised I’d take Irfan this month to watch Geng: Pergembaraan Bermula (The Gang: The Adventure Begins), a new computer animated, feature-length movie which also features the hyperactive preschooling twins Upin and Ipin from their eponymous computer generated TV series on TV9. Little did I know that I was about to behold THE best Malay movie I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in my years of being sort-of alive in this particular corner of the multiverse. The overall story was great. The little character moments were great. I laughed dozens of times throughout. And every technical aspect of the filmmaking is leaps and bounds better than 99 percent of any other Malay movie ever made. [[image:gengthemovie1.jpg:The dramatis personae on Sapy’s bullock cart. Sapy! GO!!!!!!:center:0]] The story begins with teenaged friends from the city, Badrol and Lim, who returns to Badrol’s kampung to visit his grandfather during durian season. […]

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