Asterix & Obelix XXL: Romastered PS4 [REVIEW] | For Toutatis!

Oddly, this was the last of the Asterix XXL series to get the remaster treament, the first being XXL 2 in 2018, then we had the brand new XXL 3 in 2019, then the “romastered” version of the first game in 2020, the one we’re talking about today, to celebrate the release of a new Asterix & Obelix movie in theathers.

One of the live-action ones, but still, it’s new Asterix & Obelix material!

Originally developed for PS2, Gamecube and PC (with a GBA version that’s basically another game entirely) by defunct french studio Etranges Libellules and published by Atari Europe, this remaster was instead published by Microids (which pretty much took the place Infogrames had back then) and developed by the quite non-defunct (at the time of writing, anyway) french Osome Studios.

The plot sees the titular duo wander off of their little Gaul village to the ol’ boar hunt only to come back and find out Ceasar (yes, Julius Caius Ceasar from Caligula, exactly) has somehow managed to storm the village, capturing most people and sending them off to various distant ends of the Roman empire in order to have locked out sight and mind, hopefully for good.

But with the help of a fired roman spy, you find out that most of the imprisoned gauls most likely managed to get a piece of the map indicating their location, as Ceasar took the extra step – just in case – of ripping the map in pieces and scattering them in various locations.

Good enough as an excuse in terms of videogame logic to have Asterix & Obelix travel to various places like Egypt, Normandy, Greece and Helvetia, freeing their fellow gaul citizens and getting more pieces of the map along the way.

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[EXPRESSO] EO (2022) | Wanderdonk

Clearly inspired by Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar, this 2022 polish movie follows the life of donkey that, after escaping from a polish circus sets on a “picaresque” journey through Europe, witnessing various realities of modern european countries along its aimless wander.

And intriguingly enough here it’s in theathers, limited release but not that fleeting, it stuck around more than Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio, so that’s nice.

As expected the titular donkey and his accidental European trip is a device to depict various episodes of humanity and its often unsavoury sides, sampled through many various vignettes, going from Eo joining a farm with other mules to being used as a scapegoat by violently murderous football fanatics, being rescued by robot dogs, used as workforce in an illegal fur farm, and so on…

So the donkey himself isn’t the focus of the narration, makes sense but since we’ve seen this type of film done before, EO it’s kinda disappointing because it straddles between committing to fully characterize the animal protagonist (even indirectly) or fully utilizing his role as a narrative tool to eviscerate humanity’s many, many facets.

I’d prefered it “went harder” in many ways, because the execution often made me wish the movie would committ to show more small, gritty or unflinchingly realistic stories, or to contextualize more the ones shown. That and while it’s sincere, at times i felt it was a bit too enamored with being artsy for its own sake, and again, the final result feels compromised and hence it never properly achieves the emotional potency it clearly wishes for.

It’s not a long watch, it does have some very effective moments, i was intrigued all the way and i would recommend watching if you can, but i won’t deny i also felt kinda disappointed by it.

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #23: Land Of The Lost (2009)

FIY, i didn’t know this movie’s history beforehand, i figured we could use a mainstream released feature with actors people might have actually have seen before, you know, in theathers and all, it wasn’t an obscure product from a country that no longer exists and it was “2YK survivor”.

So i just slotted into the list, only to later find out i basically enlisted “comedy Hitler” for this Dino Dicember, as this thing was widely hated back in 2009, with the deadly combo of being both a box office bomb and receiving overwhelming amounts of negative reviews from the press.

And also won 7 Razzies, which – as said before – i don’t really acknowledge, but by all accounts it had everything going against it, as it was regarded as an awful, awful sketch comedy, and made people extra salty because it was technically one of those “parody movie adaptations/remakes” of an older, beloved TV series, in this case Sid and Marty Krofft’s Land Of The Lost from 1974.

Which i never saw since i’m technically a Millennial and whatnot.

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[EXPRESSO] Crimes Of The Future (2022) | Biomeat: Flesh Nectar

David Cronenberg is back on the big screen with a… remake of his early film Crimes Of The Future. “Remake” in name only, as it just shares the cyberpunk setting, his passion for the pleasures of mutated flesh, and the idea of a future where human bodies can create new organs (often without apparent function), alongside a new kind of sexual perversity steeped in medical science.

That aside, it’s pretty much its own thing, fully befitting the style of directing Cronenberg would master later, but instead of a pederast ring obsessed with perverse secretions and strange malodies, the plot here focuses on the aspect of the human body spontaneously producing new, strange and wonderful organs, to the point surgery has been repursosed as a method of performance art, encouraged by an unexplicable disappearing of pain and sicknesses for the human race as a whole…

The movie follows two world famed “body artists” Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen) and his assistant Caprice (Lea Seydoux) as they perform artistical surgery sessions by removing the new tumoral organs that keep growing in Saul’s body, but the duo it’s approached by a weird goverment wing that wants to establish a legal, official list of the new organs, and a father that’s willing to give the body of his dead son so the duo can perform a public autopsy on him..

While one might argue that Cronenberg here is revisiting an old cyberpunk concept two decades later…. i’d say the premise still feels intriguing and novel, and because cyberpunk itself has aged into almost irrilevancy and hasn’t moved forward… this doesn’t feel as dated as it could.

Despite that and suffering from some abrupt sequences, it’s still quality Cronenberg, not him as its best, but good stuff, overall, even if this future feels less so today.

A quick ramble about the Klonoa Phantom Reverie Series collection

Klonoa has been one of my favourite series since a decade or plus ago i discovered it… as a teen by playing the second game, Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil, on the old “fat” PS2 model. Yep, this isn’t a childhood fascination, i just loved the frigging series since i stumbled upon it, so thanks to some handy “gift money” i pre-ordered this new collection… one that Namco Bandai just kinda put out there without much marketing and fanfare, aside from revealing it in a Nintendo Direct.

I got the PS4 version for performance’s sake, and because i wanted something good to keep on the shelf – alphabetically -before Knack, so let’s just give a quick overview of this collection after spending a couple hours or so with it.

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Dinoshark (2010) [REVIEW] | #sharksncrocs

More Roger Corman, continuing his b-movie legacy well into the new millennium with the “Roger Corman Presents” line of made for TV or direct-to-video b-movies he produced, this one being a spin-off of sorts of the Dino Croc series. Yes, series.

At the time of writing i haven’t got around to those, not that it matters, as a movie like this was simply bound to be made, and i’m surprised it took this long for the words “dinosaur” and “shark” to be married by the ol’ “b-movie priest”, but i guess 2010 was the year for this kind of trash, as Roger Corman also produced Sharktopus.

The first of the “Sharktopus trilogy” i mean.

Also, apparently this is a remake of 1979’s Up From The Depths, another Jaws rip-off/inspired film.

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[EXPRESSO] CODA (2022) | Teenage Fugue

I kinda hate the context surrounding this movie, as it forces me to basically aknowledge that the Oscars still matter somewhat… as in, i usually don’t even bother to check on them, they’re mostly pointless and become even more so as time goes on, but i did know of “the slap” and that this year this film won “best movie”. And since it just hit theathers here, figured i’d take a look anyway.

CODA is about teenage girl Ruby, the only person in her deaf family being able to hear and speak (hence the titular “Child Of Deaf Adults”), that at school enters the choir club, and discovers to have quite the beatiful and powerful voice.

She eventually has to make a difficultion decision: continue her musical training, follow her dream and go to a respected music college, or keep helping her family in their struggling business of fishermen, even more as she’s the only link between their family and the rest of the world.

I’ll say this: this is a good film. It’s a coming of age story that deals with hearing disabilities, but honestly does so very well, as it treats deaf people as people, not pity patron saints, actual people, while not weaseling away from the obvious obstacles and perception they receive from others, and manages to balance the drama-comedy ratio quite well, it’s not a mopey affair at all, the characters come off as real but can be quite funny. I really liked the father, what a jolly fellow.

I’m glad i did go see CODA, i am, i do think it’s a good film, overall, but it’s honestly nothing special regardless of how you slice it, even more since it’s a remake of the 2014 french film La Famille Bélier.

Still worth a watch, anyway.

Nintendo Direct 9/02/2022 | Rites Of N

That time again, time to put on your robe and attend the ceremony with expectations so far out to make worshippers of the Old Gods looks like wannabe zealots!

Especially since all fair criticism of the company is dropped by most people (and publications) when a Direct happens. But again, this is sadly “business as usual”, let’s move on.

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Silent Night (2012) [REVIEW] | Remake Night

Ah yes, Christmas horror, a tradition now decades old, one that inevitably leads one to talk about the Silent Night, Deadly Night series, that – while not inventing the notion, as Bob Clark’s Black Christmas was already a decade old itself by then– had quite the impact back in 1984, and definitely helped the subgenre grow into a profitable niche, while also spawning two sequels and two other numbered entries that really had nothing to do with 1984’s Silent Night, Deadly Night at all.

So yeah, if you know me.. you already know we ain’t talking about any of those directly, there’s always a catch, so we’re revisiting the 2012 remake of the 1984 original Silent Night Deadly Night, simply called “Silent Night”, following the then common trend of remakes shortening titles.

It was either that or Silent Night, Bloody Night, which is – odd as it may sound – not a rip-off and actually pre-dates both the original Black Christmas and the original Silent Night, Deadly Night.

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20 hours into Pokemon Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl

An EXPRESSO review would be pointless, arguably even a regular full lenght review would be not that useful, because people have been pleading for a remake of the 4th gen Pokemon titles for years, and given this remake has already sold like 6 millions units, i’d say there was not much convincing to be done about it anyway, it’s frigging Pokemon after all.

So let’s just talk about it after 20 hours spent into my Shining Pearl copy.

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