Sunday Morning Stuff 08/09

Welcome to a big fat Sunday Morning Stuff. Oh there’s a lot of stuff. Oh boy. Oh wow. Look at all this stuff just clogging up the week, isn’t it great?

In fact there’s so much stuff I don’t even really have time to ramble on about the weather or politics or anything…

Reading

LOOK, there is a lot going on down below, so why don’t we skip over this one and not linger on the fact that I’ve once again neglected my reading habits…okay? Okay.

Playing

There has been a lot going on in the world of gaming this week, with a big fat Nintendo Direct delivering some weird and wonderful news into the laps of fans around the world. A slew of ports continues to come into dock with the Switch. An Assassins Creed Black Flag/Rogue combination port is coming soon, and the Twin Peaks reminiscent Deadly Premonition has received a day-in-date port, with a sequel announced to come later.

Perhaps the biggest news of all was the arrival of SNES games to Nintendo’s online service. Already those who subscribed to the plan had access to a library of NES games, but now this library has been buffed with the arrival of games such as Super Mario World, Super Metroid, F-Zero, and, erm, Super Soccer.

Some of those games have aged better than others. Your mileage may vary.

My main focus however has been away from the Switch, with Gears 5. It dropped early for Game Pass Ultimate users (it’s main release is September 10) and a few hours in I can safely say that I am having a fantastic time. The core mechanics are exactly what you’d expect: shooting big squishy things and running and rolling from cover point to cover point, but the way it’s wrapped up is more interesting than ever before, with a compelling story, interesting dialogue for characters old and new, and visually diverse and beautiful settings to shoot things in. There’s a whole load of campaign still to go, and then after that there’s all the multiplayer modes: competitive, Horde, Survival…I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together.

Listening to

It’s been a busy week in the music world too! The biggest release was probably Post Malone’s Hollywood is Bleeding, which on first listen didn’t really leave much of an impression on me. It wasn’t bad, but some of the tracks seemed to blend into one another over the long running course of the project. Maybe there are only so many trap ballads I can take.

I found Bat for Lashes’ Lost Girls to be far more interesting, as Natasha Kahn delivers a dreamy collection of songs celebrating the decade that made her…the 80s. So yes, this is very much up my street. Although it would be too far to call this a synthwave album, the influence of the genre is clear and has been very much embraced by Kahn, who created a public Spotify playlist in the run up to the album’s release featuring artists such as FM-84 and Com Truise, alongside 80s staples like Cyndi Lauper, Bananarama, and John Williams.

And then of course there were a bunch of new singles. If I was to choose just the one track which really caught my attention, it would have to be the new Danny Brown, cut which comes with a typically freaky video for your viewing pleasure.

Watching

So here’s the big one. I finally got around to Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.

Hmm.

This is a long old movie, and I don’t think it needs to be. This is a meandering, slice of life picture which follows the lives of two ageing blokes in la la land. Di Caprio takes on the role of an old silver-screen cowboy, and Brad Pitt his stunt double and gopher. They make for a charming pair. In the background, and sometimes the foreground, the Manson family lingers. The ghost of all they did hangs heavy over the film, and Tarantino uses this. He wants to celebrate the old times, and most specifically he wants to celebrate all those old stars who never really made it, made the impression is that none of this characters realise that time might not be on their side. The 60s can’t last forever, can it?

Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is the forebear of this. She brings a new blood enthusiasm into the world, gleefully going to the pictures to see her own movies, shimming and shaking through Hollywood, jigging and dancing and singing, just vibrating with positive energy.

Her fate in reality is written, and grim, and how Tarantino tackles this is the most interesting component of the movie – and of course I feel like I can say nothing about it here.

Once Upon a Time… is ultimately a movie about life, about the joy of cinema, the act of creation.  

And I didn’t really dig it.

On paper all of this reads like a wonderful time, and I almost tricked myself into thinking I had a good time watching it whilst I was writing this, and perhaps on further viewings I may enjoy it more but…I was bored watching this movie at times. It is Tarantino at his most self-indulgent. He dives deep into every tangential scene that he pleases, lingering on every step, every drive, every silent moment. There are many, many scenes which show accurate recreations of the shows Di Caprio’s character has starred in, and although they are fun most of them add nothing, and a lot of them go on for way, way longer than you might expect.

Again, I fully anticipate that I may enjoy his movie more down the line, but my honest opinion right here and now is that although there may be a good picture hiding in there somewhere, it is hidden in layers of tangential period texture, and directorial fancy.  

Running

I suppose there is nothing too specific to say about my running right now other than that I’ve been able to do a lot of it without too much discomfort, and that’s a great thing. My mileage is climbing back up to where it needs to be, and good thing too – the half marathon is in a month! I do have an absolute stinker of a blister though, so if anyone has any tips at all for dealing with them leave them below…

There it is, a whole load of stuff. Feels good, doesn’t it? Old and new the content never dries out. You’ll never be able to see it all, read it all, play it all…there’s really no excuse to ever be bored is there?

And yet…

I’m off to work.

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