In Defense of The Mummy & the Universal Monsters Reboot

4 Dec

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Should I be angry over the fact Universal Studios wants to reboot their entire monster franchise? I say no. To get a modern update is inevitable and I would rather go with the flow to see how producers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Chris Morgan’s vision are going to put all of them together. The teaser trailer from a few days ago wetted my appetite.

According to The Collider, a full blown trailer is supposed to be out on Sunday. I suspect it will arrive in the evening, and I will be following up with a shot by shot analysis. I enjoy following The Mummy craze since the opening of King Tut’s tomb fueled my interest. No, I’m not that old, but I love this ancient world and will absorb any kind of treatment into my own Sphinx’s vault of collected treasures. From the Boris Karloff days to Arnold Vosloo, and including ITV’s Tutankhamun, I will want to see or read about it.

I am more disappointed that the prior films, The Wolfman and Dracula Untold are not included. Understandably, they were made before the studio heads may have thought of a shared universe and despite the travesty of the latter film, I appreciated The Wolfman more and want to see him return. Benicio del Toro as Lawrence Talbot/The Wolfman is perfect.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Teaser Trailer 2 Released!

3 Dec

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

A new teaser trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is now out, released in part due to Comic Con Experience in Brazil taking place this weekend by James Gunn on Twitter, and people can start this feeling right away. If only fans can ooga-ooga ooga-chaka tickets sooner than later, because everything we adored from the first film is here in the second. All the intense energy, the humour and love had for the first film will no doubt be transferred to second. Baby Groot will easily steal the show, and merchandise sales will no doubt go through the roof for this sapling now a few months older.

No timeline has been established into when the shenanigans resume in-universe. It’s a safe bet a few weeks if not months have passed. When considering the bomb-loving Rocket Raccoon has built a nuke that it will kill everybody in a huge radius, just what this team has done has me curious. Maybe the explosive is meant to kill that huge octopoid like creature? The only “plot” detail known is Kurt Russell plays Peter Quill’s father, a living planet known as Ego.

The montage set to Sweet’s “Fox on the Run” in the trailer may suggest the team is being chased yet again. The threat is uncertain. Until the release date nears, we can all wait for May 5th, 2017 to arrive in bated breath.

The Science of Why & Where to Find Jay Ingram Next

2 Dec

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Celebrated Canadian broadcaster and writer Jay Ingram is touring and promoting his latest book The Science of Why: Answers to Questions About the World Around Us at select stops. This book came out November 1st, and his visit to Victoria, BC at Bolen Books arrived thirty days later, on December 1st, where he spoke to a crowd of children and adults who grew up watching either CBC’s Quirks & Quarks (1979-1992) or Discovery Channel Canada’s Daily Planet (19952-2011). Repeats of the latter program show he will never be missed.

For this writer, to see him speak in person reveals why his presence is delightful. He began the approximately hour-long presentation with a brief discussion about Alzheimer’s — in connection to his book, The End of Memory — and he imparted advice which everyone should take heart. People who walked for at least half an hour each day are less prone to getting this dementia than those who are not. For some people, this fact is well-known. For others, to learn how to improve one’s health as he or she gets older can be discovered anytime.

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Taking NFB’s Cardboard Crash VR App for a Spin

1 Dec

550575449By Shawn Trommeshauser
(Dreaming in Digital)

Would you trust your safety to a computer algorithm? What about to the people who programmed it?

Cardboard Crash for iOS and Android is a deceptively straightforward Virtual Reality (VR) experience by Vincent McCurley and the National Film Board of Canada. Mid last month, it won the Digi Award for Mobile Entertainment and this award is the 11th to an NFB production. This app was first previewed in the DocLab program of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in 2015.

This title has a cute stylised world filled with cardboard people, buildings, and cars. The cardboard textures add a lot of detail to keep the world simple and angular. The music is pleasant and fitting for the game’s contents. Nothing overstays its welcome as the scenario is only a couple of minutes long.

The game has a very simplistic interface. It doesn’t require any additional controllers or hardware beyond a VR headset such as Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard to play. All you need to do is look at an available button for a few seconds to activate it. A voice clip will play when you highlight one of the many buttons and if you only want to hear the description before you decide on anything, you have to look away just before the selection is finalized.

I had no problem with the motion tracking or response time using an iPhone 5s. The game was a little choppy at times, but I believe that’s simply due the age of my phone. However, I experienced a huge drain on the battery, approximately 20% in less than 5 minutes of play time.  I’m not sure if it’s this particular game, the Unity engine that it runs on, or it was simply too much for my phone to handle. So if you give this title a try, please make sure that your phone isn’t overheating as you play.

Spoiler Alert! I’m going to go into detail on what happens during gameplay. If you’re interested and have a VR-capable iOS or Android device, I suggest taking a few minutes to play through Cardboard Crash before reading any further. it is only about two or three minutes long.

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