[EXPRESSO] Centipede Chaos ARCADE | Voxel Bug Blastin’

Atari in modern times is more garbage than it ever was, i don’t think i need to remind you of the previous incarnation of the company bearing this name actually wanting money for something called Alone In The Dark: Illumination.

Among other egregious crimes.

But what do you know, sometimes they manage to actually use the brands and franchises of old in new ways that aren’t unholy artifacts of shit, like actually making new arcade games of arcade series they own, like this Play Mechanix developed new Centipede game, Centipede Chaos.

Sporting a retro voxel graphics and a cabinet made for max 3 players, Centipede Chaos actually does things right and doesn’t try to reinvent Centipede into something else that’s not Centipede at all, it’s just straight, simple arcade shooter action with a decent soundtrack, fairly good looks and satisfying gameplay that stays true to the core formula, just throwing some limited use power-ups.

It’s a fun time even solo, but sadly it’s limited by own nature as a ticket redemption machine, meaning it’s fairly short even for an arcade Centipede game, as to not require a lot of work to get to the final boss worth the fabled 500/1000 tickets, but since this is arcade gameplay design, they throw in a dickish curveball by giving you one shot to kill the final boss, regardless of lives left or money put into the machine. Yep.

And that’s basically it, there are no extra modes or anything else to see, which it’s a bit disappointing considering the license used, but not too surprising due to the nature of redemption ticket arcade cabinets and the surrounding economy.

It’s just that kind of arcade money beast. Nothing that special overall, but definitely worth a go if you can find it in your neck of the woods.

[EXPRESSO] Josee, the Tiger and the Fish (2020) | and the Andersen

Eventually anime is coming back to cinemas here as well, starting with 2020’s anime adaptation of the short story Josee, the Tiger and the Fish by Seiko Tanabe, already adapted in live action form both by japanese and corean production, here with animation curated by studio BONES.

It’s a romantic drama about Tsuneo, a university student working a part time job that one day stumbles upon an old lady carrying a big wheelchair for a girl with cerebral palsy, calling herself Josee, after the heroine of a Francois Sagan’s novel. He starts frequenting “Josee” as her attendee for hire, and as time goes by he learns more about her, etc. I don’t think i have to explain how romance 101 work, so i won’t.

So, it’s a fairly common setup for an anime romance film with actual ambitions to drama, with the girl suffering from a disability or disease of sorts, i can’t really claim this movie does anything new never seen before in any way, it’s definitely what you think it’s gonna be, so don’t expect to be “surprised”, even though people don’t see romance movies for Shaymalan style twists.

But it’s honestly fairly good, definitely good enough to have it nominated at Annecy last year, fairly well executed, good animation, decent to good characters and – yes – good romance, actually surprisingly quite funny as well. What stops it from being great is that it basically does the usual framing of “disability” as some sort of “personal extra hurdle” situation to the romance, touching upon the themes that come with it but not exactly in a nuanced way, most likely because they mean well but don’t know or want to know much, resulting in a less impactful execution.

Still, it’s worth seeing, just don’t expect A Silent Voice.

Cobra Against Ninja (1987) [REVIEW] | Thai May Cry

Time to crush your flimsy hopes right away: sadly we don’t have ninja fighting a giant king cobra snake (or a giant James Latta), nor we get stock footage of snakes, the movie just has a guy that names himself “Cobra”, proper christian name as thai dudes called “Chester” and “Raymond”.

Why does he want to go against the ninja (♫ he will fight the battle to win ♫) ? The ninja of course being Ninja Master – read notes – Gordon (even though Cobra is also a ninja), this time also known as the “Red Champion”, despite his jumpsuit being red AND yellow for this specific movie.

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Bone Eater (2007) [REVIEW] | So, as i pray

Yes, there’s more. There’s always more TV movie monster movies for me to dig up… often just picked to kill off some time on a sleepy saturday morning from my Amazon Prime Video watchlist (when the frigging service decides to keep or relist them without charging more for it, despite being obvious fodder, always were, always will). And there’s a 40 % chance Jym Wynorski directed them.

Jym Wynorski direct this as well, why even doubt he didn’t direct them all at this point?

And as you might have guessed from the year it was released (and my other reviews of similar TV movies), it’s another SyFy commissioned crapfest produced via CineTel films, who also brought us movies like Lavalantula, the Ghoulies franchise, Super Shark, Indipendence Daysaster, even the new strand of I Spit On Your Grave sequels (following the 2010 remake). Just to name a few.

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Mega Snake (2007) [REVIEW] | Snake Of The Father

Things lead to things, and so i accidentally started out a Tibor Takacs mini-retrospective of sorts. It just kinda happened, i guess.

And sadly, no, he never made a TV movie about killer frogs or slugs to complete the “asian rock-paper-scissors” trifecta or the “Aesop fables’ bingo”, but he did direct this for SyFy the same year as Ice Spiders, and that would the last creature feature from him until Spiders 3D, as he preferred to do more disaster movies about tornadoes (regular ones) and christmas-family movies, which is – in a way – quite usual for older genre directors to end up doing in the later years.

But today is snakes, or at least one singular Mega Snake, and it’s a bit more interesting than Ice Spiders, more ridiculous but also less by the numbers, even if it’s another Nu Image joint shot in the Bulgarian capital for the same reasons already discussed in previous reviews, as it’s quite cheap.

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[EXPRESSO] Space Jam: A New Legacy/New Legends (2021) | Look On My Works, Ye Great Mighty Poo

Let’s get this over with, even if it’s pointless to review, as it’s just a WB corporate flex.

I revisited the original Space Jam just before seeing this, it was a corporate vehicle emphasizing cross brand promotion, spectacle, and references over story, with the “hook” of real life celebrities acting a cliched “inspiring sports film” formula alongside animated characters.

But in retrospect it had some laughs and some self awareness NOT weaponized to just suck corporate cocks in a proud cynical fashion, all the time.

And yes, this is just a new one, a “stand-alone sequel”, make sense since it has been in development hell for 15 years.

It has the same basic premise, with a basketball game deciding the fate of a real life person and the cartoon characters he mets in a new world. Obviously this one swaps Michael Jordan for James LeBron, but also tries to up the ante and modernize it, setting it in a virtual WB-verse where an evil algorhythm-IA has trapped LeBron and his younger son Dom.

Problem is it also quadruples down on corporate bullshit, to the point it’s way longer than it needs just to have countless references using WB owned IPs. Not jokes, references. It also takes itself more seriously for no reason, and it’s often more embarassing and awkward than funny or fun.

This is an official feature length shitpost filled with memes and references (not so much jokes), and while the animation isn’t bad, it’s a stylistically spineless affair, even the older Space Jam had a consistent style to the mixing of live action and animation.

The original was a product of his time as much as this new one is, but even the 1996 movie it’s still better than this specimen of pure corporate public narcistic wanking.

Horrendous.

Talking bout that new dang Nintendo Direct

So, as it’s customary and cyclical event by now, a new Nintendo Direct dropped at midnight today, and i have something to blabber on about without planning much.

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[EXPRESSO] World Flipper iOS | Pinball Isekai RPG Action

“Flipper” it’s a short-term for pinball outside of America, FIY.

And i’m fairly sure we didn’t have a pinball RPG gacha game before, i remember there was a spin-off of FF XV of sorts for smart devices, but whatever, it’s a far more alluring proposition in a overly satured market of idle games, mild rpgs, and everything in the middle.

The plot it’s basically an isekai tropes salad, but the faux 8 bit graphics are nice enough, presentation is decent, and doesn’t bombard you with too much plot or terminology right away.

Gameplay is a bit different than expected, as it’s not set up as a traditional pinball affair, with the heroes acting as single “ball” but also able to dash while launched to attack the nearest enemy, and launch skills with a pretty typical but pretty good control scheme for touch devices.

There is a bit of depth, with enemies exposing weak points at certain times, the more combos you get in a row powering up your shot to make the team spring a stronger attack, there’s Fever Mode, and overall there’s quite enough to keep it easy to play in short bursts but not mindless.

Of course, this comes with the inevitable free-to-play trappings, events, upgrade trees/maps, but the less annoying ones, just energy consumption and gacha for characters using the main premium crystals/gems, one with gacha advantages for using gems obtained by poning up cash.

But still, it’s not that bad, and honestly it’s good, good fun, way more captivating than expected, even disregarding the obvious methods to try hook you in, World Flipper it’s one of those free-to-play games that you end up back into because you actually wanna play it.

A rare sight, even aside it delivering to the underserved niche of pinball games.

[EXPRESSO] Prey (2021) | Die Freischutz, Die

Let’s go Netflix diving once again, with this german horror-thriller.

First, really, you couldn’t find another title for your movie?

Then again, i don’t expect people to confuse this with the 2007 killer lion movie, or the other killer lion movie from 2016, also called just “Prey”.

Premise it’s as stock as it gets for horror, as it’s about five friends escaping from someone hunting them down with a rifle in the woods, where they came just to make an excursion and relax.

A cabin of sorts gets involved somewhere down the line, sure, but don’t expect any subversion or satire of genre diktats, and while it’s not technically a “slasher” since the murdered uses a hunting rifle, it’s just that, a technicality, and expect some answers in the end, but not a twist.

The execution it’s not totally stock since it relies on atmosphere and tension, the mystery of why they are being hunted, and while on paper i do like the concept of not relying on obvious answers and trying to make the raw execution of a simple idea work without trick or convenient cliches… the execution here gives way to mostly boredom and not much to go on or look forward, with some substories and some drama just there to add something to the movie.

While there are some moments of decent tension, the acting is decent and it’s not completely boring or worthless (it’s not), it feels way longer than it is for a movie barely under 90 minutes, and it’s definitely not the kind of movie you wanna fire up if you’re already feeling sleepy or doozy, this isn’t made to “wake you up” to begin with, but it being fairly dull doesn’t help.

Mediocre and forgettable, you decide if it’s worth watching even once.

Syndicate PS3 [REVIEW] | Cyberbooting EA Nonsense

While CD Projeckt Red (look out to not be sued by Robert Fripp) it’s still trying to patch up the comatose corpse release of Cyberpunk 2077, let’s go back in time when cyberpunk was…. actually not that far since i actually played this last year while quarantined and cleanin some of my backlog, and the game actually came out in 2012, almost ten years ago.

It just feels odd to discuss a game like this now, with the scenario of a society that basically taps directly into the “Wired” (not actually called that, but you get it), so you can connect to the internets with a chip installed in your brain, with more than half of the world populace having it, and using it to – among other things like downloading porn and Doom 2 WADS, i guess – align with one of the megacorporations that have become more important than nations themselves. The megacorps of course compete for dominance by also upping their terror and spy tactics by using prized killers, like the protagonist, Kilo (yes, with a “i”), as corporate espionage is basically a full on war.

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