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Debaser

It Follows

Yes, the horror movie that I watched after It, is It Follows — makes for a good double bill, no? (Although I did watch these days apart.) This is an absolutely fantastic film — it was on my watch list for ages, and I was reminded about it this week and finally decided to watch it. I especially like the way it’s shot (interesting camera movement), and the soundtrack is terrific as well, all moody synths. It’s also one of the creepiest premises I’ve seen in a while (well, since Get Out). Definitely one of the best horror movies I’ve watched, although I would have liked an ending that felt more like an end.

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Debaser

It (2017)

Considering the success this has been at the box office, and the fact that I do have a fondness for Stephen King stories, I was pretty excited about watching this. And you’d figure it would be right up my alley — set in the 80s, kids on bikes, etc. I thought it was fine, but I can’t say that I found it to be especially good. Even though it’s set in the 80s, the dialogue didn’t really feel 80s to me — Stranger Things does a much better job at this (despite the presence of Mike) — and the horrific elements, although some were pretty neat, felt a bit too CG-heavy. It was more about jump scares than being creepy, and I tend to prefer my horror movies to be creepy. It does end on an interesting note, inviting a modern return for Chapter 2.

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Game Boy

Game Boy 002 – GDC

“Game Boy” is a weekly column in which I write about being a game developer working in Montreal. You’ll find them all under this category, and it starts here.

I’m going to GDC this year.

This is a statement I’ve been wanting to make for years and years (probably at least a decade), and I’m still overjoyed that it’s finally happening.

Every year as I see so many people I know (and friends too) gather at GDC (Game Developers Conference) to take in both the conference itself  and all of the festivities surrounding it, I’ve said to myself I’d eventually get there myself.

In recent years, I’ve been at least able to take to take in recordings of talks — at first I started getting access through the studios where I’ve worked (both Eidos Montreal and Ubisoft Montreal give us access), and more recently it’s been even easier to watch a lot of classic talks freely through GDC’s YouTube channel. Last year I was also organizing a weekly lunch session within my team (for those interested), in which I’d pick a talk and we’d watch it as a group in a meeting room while eating — I was inspired by a similar session organized by our studio’s talent development team.

Since becoming a game developer myself (I’m just a few weeks away from my second anniversary at Ubisoft Montreal, and May will mark my 3rd anniversary working in the industry) I’ve been patient and hoping that I would find an opportunity to attend — and sure, I could go anytime on my own dime, but that’s a rather pricey endeavour.

Ubisoft Montreal’s talent development program is really quite extensive and generous — not only organizing attendance at conferences, but also producing in-house training programs and workshops, and things like hackathons — and so a few months ago I finally made a request within my team to attend, and it worked out.

Why do I want to attend GDC so much? I’ve already written about how much I wanted to work in the games industry, following a lifelong passion for games, and for me there’s no greater celebration in our industry than GDC. So it’s the chance to go hang out with my peers for a week, to be inspired by them, to learn things I’ll be able to execute on when I get back to Montreal, and to make all sorts of interesting connections.

It’ll also be my very first visit to San Francisco, so that’s pretty exciting as well, and I hope to at least stay an extra day or two to take in a bit of the city (and to see friends).

The biggest problem I have now though is that there are just too many talks I’d like to attend, and there’s just not enough time, if you look at everything that is happening during the week. What a great problem to have.

Categories
Debaser

Robocop

I waited a while to watch Robocop in my 1987 movie run, but that’s only because I had re-watched it a few years ago, so wasn’t in a big hurry to watch it again. This is indeed one of my favorite movies of that year, and also one of the best sci-fi action flicks, period. It’s still incredibly entertaining, and I don’t think there’s any sci-fi film that has gotten the comedy so well (and incredibly dark comedy at that), without losing the intensity of the rest of the film. It’s a shame that all the sequels where such a letdown, and although I didn’t really mind the recent remake, it definitely wasn’t as memorable as the original. I’ve read that a true sequel to this film is now in the works (ignoring every movie that came after), and I’m really curious to see what that could look like. “I’d buy that for a dollar!”

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Debaser

Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrole

I’ve now done movie marathons for 1985, 1986, and 1987, and it’s funny that for each year I’ve watched a Police Academy sequel, without watching the original (which I guess came out in 1984). As expected, these do get worse and worse, but hey, as cultural artifacts of the era, I’m having fun re-watching them. The strangest thing to see here is a very young Sharon Stone playing a journalist, and David Spade playing a skater punk.

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Debaser

Innerspace

The funny thing for me is that as I sat down to watch this, I was fully expecting to watch Honey, I Shrunk the Kids! I’d completely forgotten that this was the Dennis Quaid and Martin Short movie. I did have fun watching it. Martin Short is especially good in his role, with all the energy he puts into it. Dennis Quaid is, well, Dennis Quaid — OK I guess playing that cowboy type, but a bit too over-the-top at it as well. Not an especially memorable film, but a nice reminder of the type of comedy action movies that were big at the time.

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Debaser

Creepshow 2

When I decided to watch this I of course remembered the title, but I was a bit blank on what the stories were, and it’s a sign that I must have watched this quite a few times that as I was watching them they all felt so damn familiar. “Thanks for the ride, lady!” I now remember using that line all the time when I was a kid. I’d say that watching it now, it’s good for what it is, which are Tales from the Crypt-type shorts, with a fun horror vibe to them. The biggest mystery for me though is why they couldn’t afford to get better animation done for the framing sequences — it’s really, really bad.

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Debaser

Lethal Weapon

Everyone always talks about Die Hard being a Christmas movie, but same could be said for this. Putting whatever feelings you may have for Mel Gibson aside, this is still a pretty great comedy action flick, and def one of the best of that era. And Gary Busey. I can’t really remember how much I liked the sequels, but this first one was entertaining, and it marked the start of a great run for Shane Black. The sax-filled soundtrack (by Eric Clapton no less) is goddawful though.

Categories
Debaser

The Untouchables

This is still a very entertaining flick, and that famous scene in the train station with the baby carriage is still amazing to take in (not as perfectly executed as I remembered, but still a fantastic montage). Sure, it feels more pop than historical, but it’s so satisfying to see these characters try to get the best of Capone, and of course to watch De Niro chew the scenery as Capone. I’d say it’s aged very well.

Categories
Game Boy

Game Boy 001 – Start

As I wrote at the start of the year, I want to try something new this year on my blog, and so I’ve decided to try writing a weekly column/post, starting today.

I’ve quite enjoyed the past year and a half of blogging I’ve done, after a hiatus of a few years. I liked the exercise of writing regularly again, and it was fun to re-connect a bit with Japan (since the posts were mostly about Japan-related art, design, and culture, just like I did back in the day). But at this point, even though I’m still very much in love with those things, I’d like to write about something that is more connected to my current reality.

So what will I cover in these weekly posts? I’m not exactly sure yet, but it should mostly cover my reality of working in the games industry here in Montreal. We’ll see where that goes, but I imagine it’ll touch on events I attend, things I’m involved in — the public types of things — and whatever else I want to write about.

As for why I want to do it on a weekly basis, that’s actually what I was doing when I first started writing on the web — it was in the guises of a weekly column called “Johnny Sushi” that I was writing about my life in Tokyo (back in 1998), as part of a site I had built with a friend called Acadiespatiale.com (which is long, long gone), that was a celebration of Acadien culture (Acadiens, or Acadians, of which I am one, being the French-speaking people of the maritime region, mostly found in the province of New Brunswick).

And unlike what you might think, using the name “Game Boy” for the series isn’t a nod to Nintendo’s classic portable console — which is in fact the only mainline Nintendo console I never owned, although I did have a Game Boy Color (the model pictured) — but rather is in reference to the “Tokyo Boy” name I regularly used for a lot of the mini-blogs I ran on this site over the years.

My plan is to publish these every Wednesday. We’ll see if that sticks.