Virtual Tourist – My Time at Portia 4/22/18

My goodness! 2018 is turning out to be even more turbulent than 2016 and 2017. Oi!

Typically once I am out of the YE and audit circus, things settle down a bit. But not this year! First Quarter End was brutal. I worked three weeks worth of time in two weeks. Ugh. I’ve been a mental vegetable.

Mini Movie Reviews

Rampage

Rampage – The film is another piece of fun nostalgia. It’s loosely based on the console game Rampage. It was a fun ride all the way around. George, the albino gorilla, is a hoot! 3.75 out of 5. (Hubby’s Rating: Worth full price to see again!)

 

 

 

Isle Of Dogs

Isle of Dogs – this was a fun and super quirky film. They use both stop animation and film animation. They make subtle fun of all sorts of things. The dogs are awesome. Not everyone will like it, but we thought it was great! 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth full price of admission.)

 

 

 

My Time at Portia

I got a new game to detox with – My Time at Portia. It is very similar, yet also different from Stardew Valley (Another fun game). The central premise of both games is to help the community, grow in skills, mine, fish, farm, scavenge, fight, and more.  Aside from different mechanics and emphasis, My Time at Portia has an entirely different visual feel from Stardew Valley.

My Time at Portia - Central Square

This is the central square in town. A&G Construction, Commerce Center, and the Mayor’s office are here.

My Time at Portia -  Sonya

Since it is a community type game, you get experience for meeting people. This is my first meeting with Sonia. One thing this game adds to the townsfolk is the ability to spar with them, plays stone-paper-scissors, or even Go. If you win, you get additional relationship points and a bit of coin (or lose coin, too!)

My Time at Portia - Mayor's Office

This is the Mayor’s office. On the right is a list of active quests. The indicator over his head shows I need to go to him for an action. (And yes, that’s me!) 🙂

My Time at Portia - Knight game room

Game room at Django’s restaurant. There are lots of things reminiscent of Stardew Valley.

The Civil Corps building – they help fight monsters and keep the town safe. Had to take a pic of their mascot/statue as it is a pig flying. lol.

My Time at Portia - ruins can be seen in the distance

This is a post-apocalyptic world that is once more prospering. There are ruins that can be mined for old technologies. There are factions/guilds that are pro and anti old technology.

My Time at Portia - Ruins

View back towards town from the tree farm area. You can see the Church of Light on the right. They are anti old tech.

My Time at Portia - Inside the Church of Light

Inside the Church of Light. Quite impressive!

My Time at Portia - murals at the Church of Light

The murals depict some of the events before civilization collapsed.

My Time at Portia - Left side murals at the Church f Light

Here humanity is rising out of the dark ages.

More weird stuff was going on in life this past week. Hopefully, things will find a neutral ground, and I can get back to a regular schedule again. *fingercrossed*

 

 

 

Virtual Tourist – Wolfenstein The New Order 12/31/17

With all the holidays the last two weeks and trying not to catch a cold, my sense of what day it is is a little on the fritz! Lol. Almost forgot today is Sunday and Virtual Tourist Day! DOH!

Mini Movie Reviews

Star Wars The Last Jedi

Star Wars The Last Jedi – 3 out of 5 – mostly a smash of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi with unimaginative changes. For such a huge franchise, you’d think they’d try to do good scripts. Still better than Episode III (Movie 6) 😛

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

JUMANJI: Welcome to the Jungle – 4 out of 5 – I REALLY enjoyed this one! It had a lot more depth than you’d expect, lots of surprises, and the acting was fab! Jack Black outdid himself on this one. They all did. (We went home and immediately watched the original again. Found several nice tie backs!)

DownsizingDownsizing – 3.25 out of 5 – Hubby was wanting to see this one badly, and ended up very disappointed. The first half or so was fascinating! Then the pace came to grinding halt and took a left turn. I think they tried to do too much with the film and inadvertently lost their way. A pity.

 

Wolfenstein The New Order

After escaping the mental hospital, we hide at my girl’s grandparents. I brought along a souvenir. Time to get answers.

The little touches are always the best. Here is a poster that needs no translation. 🙂

A giant facility and checkpoint. We need to get through this to go to Berlin.

Should have lightened this one. Dang. Anyway, you can see my girl’s grandma and grandpa. Old but mean business. They are helping to sneak the two of us to Berlin.

 Within the facility/checkpoint structure.

Another one I should have lightened. Boo! I’m sneaking my way further into the facility.

Some cool truck plans in the garage area. Some very subtle foreshadowing as you will soon see. 😛

View of a smaller secondary gate. We’re almost through.

Surprise! This is what the weird truck specs were for. Transporting mechanized warrior units. Eek!

A full view of the beastie. Nasty sucker. They pop two of those for you to get rid off. Ugh!

Hope you and yours have a great New Years Eve!

 

Movie Review – Moana

Moana

Starring: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Jemaine Clement, Nicole Scherzinger, Alan Tudyk, Oscar Kightley, Troy Polamalu, Puanani Cravalho, and Louise Bush.

Directed by: Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, and Chris Williams Screenplay by: Jared Bush Story by: Ron Clements, John Musker, Chris Williams, Don Hall, Pamela Ribon, Aaron Kandell, and Jordan Kandell Music by: Opetaia Foa’i, Mark Mancina, and Lin-Manuel Miranda

Premise: Moana has always been fascinated by the ocean and what might lay beyond the protective reef around her home. As the chieftain’s daughter and heir, however, she tries to put those desires aside and learn how to become a good leader. But when pestilence and lack of fish begin to plague her island home, Moana realizes she must go and find the demigod Maui and get him to make things right again. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Voice Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Auli’i Cravalho as Moana was a treat. Her boundless energy comes across in every line. Dwayne Johnson is a hoot as Maui. The two worked well together, and you could feel the bonds growing between the characters. Alan Tudyk as Heihei was a surprise, but what fun! (Especially as it isn’t a speaking part.) Rachel House and Jemaine Clement added some additional angles to the scope of the film as well. (Clement’s final line after the credits is awesome! :P)

2) Artwork/Animation – Total Thumbs Up: Walt Disney Animation Studios outdid themselves with Moana. The film is gorgeous! Fantastic textures, colors, and they do awesome things with the water. The section where Moana is at the beach as a baby was sublime. It will make you feel like you’re actually in Hawaii.

A ton of attention to detail on all things. They use the 3D to full advantage, even making facial crinkles and wrinkles. Moana and Maui’s hair would make anyone jealous!

Heihei fits the “too stupid to die” type character category. They have so much fun with him! Maui’s tattoos are awesome. His mini tattoo version of himself is great. Like a living conscience. When Maui shapeshifts, stay on the lookout for the fishhook and how it’s incorporated into each of his forms. Nice little detail. 🙂

The island goddess and the lava monster were excellent. The cooling lava and resulting igneous rock turned out fantastic. The monster zone and the Kakamoji peoples and boats were fascinating.

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: While the film has the look and feel of Hawaii, after doing some quick research, it doesn’t appear that the tale told has anything to do with the legends of the chain of islands. Despite that, it does hold a lot of the trappings of stories dealing with humans and gods. It also definitely has a Hawaiian feel to it.

A lot of themes run through the film. Responsibility, dreams, finding who you are, and more.

The film uses some anachronistic terms/dialogue. But though out of place, some of it is quite humorous. Several in-jokes are tucked away here and there. For example, Maui moving his mini tattoo from one side of his chest to another by muscle movement. A move we’ve seen Dwayne Johnson do in other films. 😛 (There’s a big in-joke at the end of the credits, too! Relates back to the Little Mermaid. :))

Conclusion: Moana is a gorgeous film. Would recommend seeing it in 3D for the spanning views alone. Lots of fun moments and has plenty to keep the kids and adults well entertained.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Movie Review – The Angry Birds Movie

The Angry Birds Movie

Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn, Keegan-Michael Key, Kate McKinnon, and more.

Directed by: Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly Written by: Jon Vitti Music by: Heitor Pereira Art Direction by: Pete Oswald

Premise: An orphan and with unusually large eyebrows, Red has always had a hard time fitting in, all the kids making fun of him because he’s different. As an adult, things have not gotten easier, his streaks of bad luck not helping to keep him from getting angry.  Then the pigs arrive. Red tries to tell the village that there’s something not right about them, but the smooth talking Leonard has a rebuttal for everything. Do the pigs have an ulterior motive for coming to the island or is Red just being paranoid? (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Jason Sudeikis does a great job as the pragmatic and unlucky Red. Josh Gad is a blast as super fast Chuck. Danny McBride did a nice job as the awkward Bomb. Peter Dinklage as the Might Eagle was hoot. 🙂 Bill Hader had way too much fun as Leonard. Maya Rudolph added a lot cute bits as Matilda. Sean Penn doesn’t say much, but his character Terence brought some definite fun to the table.

2) Artwork/Animation – Total Thumbs Up: Rovio Animation has taken the beloved little game of Angry Birds and made it into a fun film. The textures are nicely done, giving a different look and feel not only to make our feathered friends look fluffy, but even differentiating between the different feather types on their bodies. Nice work!

Bird Island and Piggy Island each have their own distinct look and feel. They even worked the loosey-goosey building style the pigs use in the different incarnations of the game on the pigs’ city.

This loosey-goosey style is also extended to their technology, which makes for a lot of fun. That they haven’t blown themselves up before this point is amazing! 😛

If you go see it in 3D, they have several cute gags they use the 3D on for good effect. 🙂 And Terence is awesome. Speaking volumes with but a look.

And they could not make the bird kids look any cuter! OMG! If they ever make plushies of the kids, I’m not going to be able to help myself. They are so CUTE!

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: I have to give some definite praise to Jon Vitti for taking the premise of the Angry Birds game and actually building it out into a full plot for a movie. Thankfully animated films are expected to be ‘fantasy’ so that helped as well. Best not to look behind the curtain – as they say.

Red has anger issues, but he’s come by them honestly. Though the island purports to only bring happiness, the adults tends to ignore things they don’t like, and so poor Red was made fun of by his classmates for not knowing things and for looking different without anyone intervening on his behalf. Add his streaks of bad luck and I don’t blame him for being angry. Several themes revolve around Red and friends – community, social blindness, suppressing feelings, individuality, and several others.

They make sure we know the birds in this universe do not fly – that only the Mighty Eagle can – and most think him but a myth. I found it quite amusing that the pigs are the ones who introduce them the idea of the slingshots. Their hubris was also their undoing.

Some of the characters and who they represent in the Angry Bird game universe are obvious, some less so. Half the fun is watching them do their thing. And the pigs are a riot! lol.

Make sure to stay through part of the credits. Super cute scene with the triplets. 🙂

Conclusion: The Angry Birds Movie is a must for anyone who has ever enjoyed the Angry bird games. Prepare yourself for large dozes of cuteness, some crude humor, and fun.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Movie Review – Zootopia

Zootopia

Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Alan Tudyk, Shakira, Della Saba, Maurice LeMarche, Raymond S. Persi, and many more.

Directed by: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush Screenplay by: Jared Bush and Phil Johnston Story by: Byron Howard, Jared bush, Rich Moore, Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee, Josie Trinidad, Jim Reardon, and Dan Fogelman Art Direction by: Matthias Lechner Music by: Michael Giacchino

Premise: Judy’s dream since she was a little girl was to become a police officer. Everyone discouraged her, but she stubbornly clung to her dreams until she becomes the first bunny officer. Yet it’s when she starts to work in District 1 that she realizes the obstacles to her dream are far from over. If anything, they’ve become greater than before. Putting her job on the line to prove herself, she must place her trust in on a hustling fox to track down a missing otter. Yet this is but the beginning of the mystery of something very wrong going on in Zootopia. (Rated PG)

 

Review:
1) Acting – Toal Thumbs Up: Ginnifer Goodwin was perfect for the role of Judy Hopps. Her voice oozed with the bounciness and the speed you’d expect from a rabbit. Jason Bateman was a lot of fun as the voice of Nick Wilde and made for a good foil to Ginnifer’s Judy. Maurice LaMarche did wonderful work as Mr. Big. Loved Idris Elba’s portrayal of Chief Bogo.  Jenny Slate was adorable as the ever suffering Bellwether. Raymond S. Persi as Flash was a hoot. And Alan Tudyk as the Duke Weaselton? Priceless. 😛

2) Artwork/Animation – Total Thumbs Up: Walt Disney Animation Studios did a marvellous job with the film. The textures were amazing. The wool of Bellwether’s hair, the fluffy bunny fur, the thicker fox hair, you could tell at a glance how they would feel and which would be softer or bouncier than another. As the credits and the film itself will show, they spent a ton of time on research for the plethora of animals represented in the film. The attention to detail was riveting.

Just as fascinating as the different species of animals were to see, the city of Zootopia was a wonder to behold. I especially adored the palm tree building made out of what looked like Tiffany crystal. All one has to do is look at how the city is split to realize the large range of species that live there. It even has weather zones! Each zone (and some areas were zones within zones) was entirely unique, with District 1, the hub of the city, looking eerily familiar.

Lots of little jokes in the details. Especially the neon signs scattered everywhere. This one will be a fun film to see with the DVD player, so you can stop and take your time catching all the cute background additions and fabulous vistas. Too fun!

3) Plot/Story – Total Thumbs Up: Though there is a lot to keep the younger kiddos entertained, this particular film’s plot was geared more for the tweens and adults. Lots of delicious layers and themes were explored. Following your dreams, being held back, dreams destroyed and dreams found. Prejudice (from both sides of the predator and non-predator sides), assumptions, the fact actions have consequences – even when you’re not aware of it, forgiveness, understanding, and the fact everyone has a part to play no matter their size or origins.

The mystery of the disappearances was fun and rather unique. Even as one facet of the mystery was solved, more answers remained to be found. There were several lovely twists. And just watching the society in general was a real treat.

4) Music – Total Thumbs Up: Not only is there a totally addicting song from Shakira, but there are several old favorites brought up for the soundtrack as well. Best of all are the BGM/OST tracks by Michael Giacchino as he gives each zone and the story itself some lovely, unique music.

Conclusion: Zootopia is visually and mentally fun! Gorgeous animation, likeable characters, and the complex story make this one a definite winner in my book!

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

Mind Sieve 2/1/16

Way too much happening, crashing, catch-uping, and more – so this will be a quick one this week!

Trolls Official Teaser Trailer #1 – looks funky!

The Angry Birds Movie Official Theatrical Trailer – ROFL!

Eye in the Sky – looks good! (We will miss you Mr. Rankin)  😥

That’s it. Hope your week is less chaotic than mine!  😉

Movie Review – Norm of the North

Norm of the North

Starring: Rob Schneider, Heather Graham, Ken Jeong, Bill Nighy, Colm Meaney, Loretta Devine, Michael McElhatton, Maya Kay, Gabriel Iglesias, and more.

Directed by: Trevor Wall Written by: Daniel Altiere, Steven Altiere, and Malcolm T. Goldman Music by: Stephen McKeon

Premise: Norm is not like other polar bears. He has a skill none but his grandfather has, he can speak human. And Norm will need to use his odd skill to save his home once Greene Homes decides the Antarctic would be the perfect place to build and sell condos. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Voice Acting – Neutral: With names like Rob Schneider, Colm Meany, and Bill Nighy, you would think the voice acting on the film would be great. Sadly, this is not the case. 🙁 Most of the lines are delivered without much force or emotion behind them, and there are no real interactions, relationships, or chemistry between the characters. Aside from an exception here or there, the dialogue and voice acting just seemed forced, like they were trying too hard, so it doesn’t quite make it.

2) Artwork/Animation – Neutral: I don’t believe I’ve seen work from Splash Entertainment before, and to be honest they didn’t do much to excite me about seeing anything else from them in future. While the animation had some neat textures and lovely background colors, it was also very jerky. Norm loves to dance, but most of the time his moves are too muted or jerky and don’t look like dancing. On the opposite side, Mr. Greene seems to be made out of rubber, his limbs bending and looping all over the place, more than Mr. Fantastic from the Fantastic 4!

Overall, the backgrounds were decent. But the choppiness of the rest of the animation made it hard to enjoy them. For a feature film, I expected a higher quality and smoother transitions in movements than were evident.

The lemurs were fun. But they were about it…

3) Plot/Story – Neutral: I tend to give animated films a little broader leeway than normal films because the settings tend to be fantastical. Sadly, though, Norm of the North pushed quite a distance past my usually wide threshold for this type of film.

Norm can speak like a human, but he’s been exposed only to a little of technology. Yet once in New York city, he seems to know how to read and what a flash drive is and how other technology works. Worse, Norm talks about his feelings and how they are more like a human than a bear’s, yet his brother, a supposed typical polar bear, sets up dance routines, uses a headset, and acts way more human than Norm. 🙁 The film is peppered with this kind of inconsistency throughout.

Aside from a couple of cute spots and one or two surprises, the rest of the film was rather bland. Worse, they show Norm bend bars of steel, then not long after he’s incapable of tearing/chewing a piece of rope apart, or lifting off a piece of antenna in the water. And since a trip to Antarctica is not that fast, the only time to unmoor the boat from the barge would not have to be in the middle of a raging storm. It just made some of the “exciting” parts appear way too contrived. 🙁

Conclusion: Norm of the North will be entertaining for the young kids, but teenagers and adults won’t get much out of it. The animation quality wasn’t what it should have been, and neither was the acting. So overall, it just plodded along. 🙁

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Better On Cable)