Monday, 25 April 2016

Film Round-Up #14

Well, I think it's safe to say that if any time is 'Leo Time', it's right now. Fresh off his remarkable performance in The Revenant and having been the talk of the town (and subject of countless Facebook memes) in the subsequent few weeks, the profile of Leonardo DiCaprio has surely never been higher than it is right now? Of course, it doesn't hurt that he has finally (belatedly?) received the Oscar for Best Actor thanks to his turn as the determined (to put it mildly) Hugh Glass.

Is it his best performance? Probably. But is it his most entertaining film to date? I guess that's down to personal taste, but perhaps not. Either way, I figured this was an appropriate time to find that out so I've been looking back at some of his previous films. Here are the first few I've watched with more probably to be seen soon!

The Beach (2000)

One of the first of Leo's films since a Titanic-fuelled career boost was this Danny Boyle-directed effort, adapted from Alex Garland's novel of the same name, and stars him as an American back-packer who, in Thailand, is given directions to a beautiful-but-forbidden island. Of course, he goes there and finds a small community of fellow back-packers living self-sufficiently. He is allowed to stay and join their community, but only if he keeps it secret. All goes well for a while but naturally their perfect little paradise is eventually disrupted by first a tragic incident, then an innocent (at the time) indiscretion. This makes it very much a film of two halves and I enjoyed the first a lot. Leo's character, while as charming as always, is also a bit of an arrogant twonk, but it's still one of those films that makes you want to be there for real. The community's lifestyle is made to look very appealing and the scenery is stunning, but then the tone of the film changes completely in the second half which pretty much destroys what it had built up. I suppose the point is to abruptly take you out of your comfort zone, and it works, but it's done very clumsily and nearly ruins the film for me... 6/10

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Indie Game News / Previews #2 (Part 2)

Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom by FDG Entertainment (2015) - PC

Some of you might recall a short news/preview item I posted here a while ago regarding what could end up being one of the most awesome indie games ever - Monster Boy, a kind of remake/sequel to the great Wonder Boy games of the past. And now, a tad more a year since the previous post, I found myself wondering where it had gotten to. It was due for release sometime during 2015 after all, but alas. Fearing the worst, I looked into it and found that it's merely delayed rather than cancelled. It has undergone a name change, with 'Cursed Kingdom' replacing 'Wizard of Booze' in the title, but it's very much still underway. In fact, it's looking very much like it's nearly ready...

Monday, 18 April 2016

Bomberman Series - Part 13

Bomberman '94 a.k.a. Mega Bomberman (1993)
By: Hudson Soft  Genre: Maze  Players: 1-5  Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16  First Day Score: 71,100
Also Available For: MegaDrive
Download For: Wii Virtual Console, PlayStation Network

This amazingly awesome series had taken a detour to SNES-ville since its last PCE instalment but it was probably still its last entry on NEC's wonderful box of tricks that was considered the best. It retained the same basic gameplay as the rest of the series but the visuals, audio, and stage design were all better than ever. So much so, in fact, that it was hard to see how the format could be improved any further. That didn't stop Hudson from making a swift return to their favourite system to try though. Expectations would be higher than ever but initial impressions were very positive. Having said that, the link-up mode present in '93 seems to be missing from the title screen here but the more important 'Normal' and 'Battle' games are present and correct, and it's also hard not to notice a green kangaroo-like creature present here as well, being ridden by an excited-looking White Bomberman. What in the blue blazes could that be? I shall henceforth find out.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Real Life Getting In The Way Again...

Oh, hello there, how's stuff n junk? :) As some of you have seemingly noticed, Red Parsley has been somewhat bereft of new posts lately. There are several reasons for this - the loss of my job, a couple of personal problems, and an ongoing health issue have naturally meant my now-abundant spare time has been taken up dealing with those matters, and I've also recently been on another holiday with my lovely wife.

As I'm sure won't be a surprise to those who know me, the latest trip was once again to Brazil where we took in Brasilia (for the 5th time), Rio de Janeiro (for the 2nd time), and Buzios (for the 1st time). The latter is a small, jagged peninsula located within Rio de Janeiro state about 2-3 hours from the city after which it was named. Here we had rented a villa/cottage-type thing along with some of the wife's family and a couple of her friends and, while offering a wonderful distraction from life's... complications, what with the swimming pool and barbecue and game room and glorious beaches just a few minutes away, I still found I couldn't truly relax. Other matters were weighing on my mind I suppose, and sadly this feeling of disconcertment continued upon our return home and endures right up to the present day, to my not inconsiderable anguish.