Vloggin’ In for 2021

So I’ve done some writing this year (new sci-fi short story hopefully to debut soon!), but if it wasn’t evident, I’ve been having a good deal more fun lately practicing video production and longish-form media critique with YouTube movie reviews! I like to hit a balance between “classic” riff review and more modern, thoughtful analysis; if that sounds like your thing, please consider tossing a like ‘n’ subscribe my way! Here’s what’s come out this year from my theatrical visits:

Wonder Woman 1984 — It looks great, but that’s about it!

Chaos Walking — Kinda just a lot of noise!

Nobody — A heck of a lot of violent action fun!

Godzilla vs. Kong — A familiar but fun return of two classic kaiju!

A Quiet Place Part II — Pretty good, now we just need to see the third act!

F9: The Fast Saga — It’s dumb, it’s loud, I love it.

My Top Stuff of 2020!

So it’s been a bad year, but one nevertheless full of good stuff if, like me, you tend to enjoy looking at a screen more than out a window! So without further ado…

GAMES

5) Hades: Supergiant Games did the impossible: with their house blend of lush isometric visuals, memorable music, and ASMR-tier VAs, they got me to play a roguelike for more than 10 minutes. Can’t say I’ll ever beat it, but props all the same!

4) Visage: The horror community mourned the passing of “P.T.”, but one diligent dev succeeded in realizing its vision. Visage has some rough edges, but in a year where we’re all stuck inside, its photorealistic depiction of domesticity gone surreal scared me like nothing else.

3) Ghost of Tsushima: Ubisoft set the pace for last decade’s open-world action games, but Assassin’s Creed walked so this could run. Satisfying combat, a stealth system that actually matters, and the most gorgeous visuals ever for the subgenre combine to make essential playing.

2) DOOM Eternal: Marauders suck. With that out of the way, ripping and tearing reached legendary heights this year as the franchise doubled down on its 2016 revival with more items, more environments, more lore, and more gore. Multiplayer and DLC are just icing on the cake!

1) Final Fantasy VII Remake: FF7R has stellar graphics, soaring music, and slick combat… but is it a remake or a sequel? The question seems odd, but it’s at the (crisis) core of the game, and it made me both love this and want to play the original–that’s never happened.

Honorable Mention: The Last of Us Part II: TLOU2 is the best-looking game I’ve ever seen, with simple yet addictive gameplay and an epic plot. It deserved a story which wasn’t so willfully cruel, and creative leads without such contempt for their characters, staff, and audience.

FILM

 

5) Unhinged: I’m a simple man; I see a violent movie starring an Oscar winner playing a dangerous lunatic, I give a thumbs-up. In any other year this wouldn’t make the cut, but with theaters barren since March, this thriller was just what I needed.

4) Relic: When a loved one succumbs to dementia, it can feel like their world is falling apart right along with you. Drawing from Hereditary and The Taking of Deborah Logan, this Australian film puts grief before horror–until an insane final act collapses the two into one.

3) The Invisible Man: With movie monsters, seeing less can be scarier–but what if you see *nothing*? Director Leigh Whannell proves the adage still holds, as this reimagining of the Universal creature feature is tense like no other. Just mind your step around the plot holes…

2) TENET: “Don’t try to understand it; feel it,” a character tells The Protagonist (yes, that’s his name) in Christopher Nolan’s latest multimillion-dollar head trip. Sage advice; as a story TENET flounders, but as a twisty James Bond homage, it’s a hell of a good time.

1) Becky: This is a movie where a teenage girl brutally murders a bunch of skinheads led by Kevin James. It’s basically an R-rated Home Alone with an awesome score. What else do I need to say?

Honorable Mention: Murder Death Koreatown: 20 years after The Blair Witch Project, I didn’t think it was possible for found-footage to seem real again, but between prerelease viral marketing on 4chan and the uniquely unsettling cameraman character, this flick left me seriously spooked!

SINGLES

 

5) “Darkness,” Eminem: Leave it to Shady to spit an extended metaphor comparing the Mandalay Bay shooter to an anxious rapper, but the result is still both a haunting examination of inner torment and a crucial condemnation of gun violence.

 

4) “Your Man,” Joji: Less is more–especially when “less” is a music video of a dancing alien. The closing track from Joji’s Nectar LP doesn’t even crack 3 minutes, but its simple, earnest refrain feels both funky and sweet over a pulsing electronic beat. “Have you ever loved? Would you go again?”

3) “A Good Song Never Dies,” Saint Motel: There’s an odd subgenre of music on YouTube: songs from bands no one’s heard of with millions of views. Some are good and some are meh, but some–with a boppin’ beat, ’60s spy thriller riff, and slinky verses–are friggin’ awesome.

2) “The Plan,” Travis Scott: The theme to Chris Nolan’s polarizing TENET is far from Zimmer theatrics, but this synthy rap track fits the film’s mood like an inverted glove while also delivering nods to its plot (“move in reverse on my turf / I draw the line and cross it first”; “close the opera / hear the red and blue outside, I think our options up”).

1) “Jessie’s Girl 2,” Coheed & Cambria feat. Rick Springfield: God knows who thought we needed a darkly comic sequel to “Jessie’s Girl” after 40 years, but they were right. C&C nail the storytelling, and man that chorus–who hasn’t wanted to scream “I don’t love you no more” over an ex or a relationship gone wrong?

ALBUMS

 

5) RTJ4, Run The Jewels: Breathless, merciless hip-hop with some killer (no pun intended) beats, gnarly hooks, and all-too-relevant lyricism. Take note, Eminem–it wasn’t just about the puns and the pace this year.

4) POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR, Bring Me The Horizon: Great alt-metal with nods to both gaming (tracks inspired by Parasite Eve and Death Stranding; production by DOOM composer Mick Gordon) and COVID (“The sky is falling, it’s fucking boring / I’m going braindead, isolated”). Looking forward to the foretold next entries in this series!

3) After Hours, The Weeknd: Forget the Grammys, this thing slaps; synthwave is an inspired addition to The Weeknd’s sound, and it manages to work as both night-drive and slow-jam music.

2) Heartwork, The Used: After hopping from protest rock with Revolution to the tearfully bland The Canyon, the boys took notes from Linkin Park and BMTH for a return to their roots with sixteen bleak but infectious tracks. Seriously, how can you not dig “Cathedral Bell”?

1) folklore, Taylor Swift: I regret nothing. In a year marked by many with loneliness and quietude, there was something comforting in hearing our top pop star drop the raucous bad-girl act and get back to some lowkey acoustic work. “Yeah, I knew everything when I was young…”

Honorable mention: Tickets to My Downfall, Machine Gun Kelly. I know, I know, but yours truly cut his musical teeth on pop punk, so I’m easy to please with a catchy chorus and a snotty delivery, artificiality be damned. Someone has to get songs with guitar charting!

Vloggin In’ #11: “Fatman” (2020)

To celebrate the holiday season, I took advantage of 2020’s charitable VOD selection and saw the new Mel Gibson-as-Santa movie “Fatman”! Is it worth rockin’ around the Christmas tree about, or does this action flick deserve a lump of coal in its stocking? Tune in and find out!

I Tube, YouTube, We All Tube

So, it’s been a time since I’ve been on here! Not sure who still follows, but thank you for sticking around if you do, and a fine hello if this is your first time checking in. Long story short, COVID and some associated professional change-ups haven’t made me the creative powerhouse behind the pen that I thought I’d be this year, hence the lack of writerly updates since May.

However, in the meantime, I’ve doubled down on learning how to do video editing and production instead–and I’m really enjoying the more tangible results. In particular, I’ve put out some more film reviews, as well as semiregular uploads of horror game streams from my Twitch! I also did a short film with my brother as intro for the latter, which I’m rather proud of.

Here’s some highlights — please Like, Share, and Subscribe if you can! It’s just a hobby for now, but I really enjoy having more folks see my stuff:

My comedic-meets-analytical review of this summer’s polarizing blockbuster “TENET”!
A minute-longish film merging the creepy and the geeky to introduce my stream vids!
A short highlight vid of one such stream, of a truly weird underwater horror game!

And there’s plenty more on my channel after you click through! I’m always working on getting that much better each time with the technical aspects of content creation, and I hope to put out some all-new videos soon doing full reviews/riffs on old films with an insightful spin. As always, in the meantime, be sure to check me out on Twitter and Twitch as well–streams are 7pm PST on Sundays!

My Cat’s Poem

Greetings from quarantine! Wish I had more new to post since March, but COVID-19 hasn’t been the creative motivator I initially expected. All I can offer in the meantime is something my lovely she-cat Snowfall (whom I don’t believe I’ve mentioned outside of Twitter before) wrote the other month… or so one must assume. 😉

cat poem

 

VLOGGIN’ IN #6 – “The Invisible Man” (2020) | WHITE BUT NOT TRANSPARENT

 

Put on my full-body bandages and fake nose for a Saturday at the cinema with the new Leigh Whannell Blumhouse/Universal movie monster horror film “The Invisible Man”!

tl;dw: It starts off a bit predictable and ends with some plot holes, but overall it’s a fantastically shot, scored, and acted sci-fi thriller that ironically deserves to be seen.

All non-me media from Google Image Search or Adobe Premiere Elements. I know I fell off the wagon with movie reviews, but I’m hoping to get back on in time for the season of renewal that is Spring!

Also, an invisible man walking sim would be incredibly easy to program, now that I think about it.

“Monkfish” | Creepypasta Reading

A short and sinister creepypasta reading culled from the old depths of /x/ once more for Fear Awareness Month!

Original author: Anonymous

Photo: Monkfish on ice, photographer unknown

Music: “Beneath the Endless Ocean,” by Dirty Knobs. Can reupload a capella if this gets DMCA’d.

“Darkness” | Creepypasta Reading

As #FearAwarenessMonth rolls on, a short and sweet #creepypasta reading about… well, the title says it all. Or does it?

Original author: Anonymous

Photo: Mine (Cathedral Caverns – Birmingham, AL)

Music: “The Minotaur’s Breath,” by Dirty Knobs. Can reupload a capella if this gets DMCA’d.

“The Lacquer Mummy” – Creepypasta Reading

With Fear Awareness Month over halfway done, I figured there was no time to waste in uploading another creepypasta reading! This time, a piece I found many moons ago on /x/ called “The Lacquer Mummy,” attributed to one “HFPS”. Turn down the lights, turn up the volume, and enjoy!

Long-form “illustration”: Me

Music: “Aokigahara Forest” by IO Echo, from the Ghost in the Shell soundtrack. Will reupload a capella if that gets DMCA’d.

VLOGGIN’ IN #5 – “Gemini Man” (2019)

Decided to *double down* on a Thursday night and see Gemini Man in all its 3D, high-frame-rate, uh… glory? tl;dw: If you can find somewhere to watch it like a normal movie, it’s a generic but fun scifi-action romp.

All non-me media from Google Image Search or Adobe Premiere Elements/Movavi Video Editor. Trying something a little different this time to find my “voice” for content creating. I tend to overthink a purely written script, but I also tend to ramble when it comes to ad-libbing. Hopefully this can be a step towards striking a unique balance!

Also, everybody hates cilantro.