Must watch on Netflix: ‘Comet’

comet movie

If you’re stuck trying to figure out what to watch on Netflix, drop everything right now and watch “Comet.” The film is Sam Esmail’s directorial debut and stars Justin Long and Emmy Rossum as unlikely lovers in a parallel universe very much like our own.

comet movie colors

“Comet” is a visually stunning throughout. Every scene is colored and shot so perfectly its almost hypnotic.

comet colors

comet colors

Every scene in the movie is so beautiful it’d be almost as enjoyable to watch the film without any sound. There are so many scenes I absolutely fell in love with, I just can’t help wanting to share them all.

comet train scene

“Comet” takes place over six years and tells the story of the relationship between Dell and Kimberly, starting from their unlikely meeting.

comet movie

The story is told from Dell’s perspective and is told out of order, much like “(500) Days of Summer” but in a unique enough way. You’ll see turning points in the relationship before the film finishes telling you how it all started, and its absolutely wonderful. Every scene takes place during a different time in the six year story, yet it all feels perfectly placed. I couldn’t imagine watching the story unfold any other way.

The soundtrack of the film is just as stunning as the visuals, with Coeur de Pirate’s “Fondu au Noir” being a particular favorite of mine.

I can’t recommend “Comet” enough. If you liked “(500) Days of Summer” you’re sure to enjoy “Comet” just as much, if not more. It’s a wonderful film, I’m so glad I happened across it.

comet movie

 

 

 

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Madden NFL 16 first impressions: An ugly start

Madden 16 title screen

EA Access subscribers on Xbox One can begin playing Madden NFL 16 today, for ten hours over the next five days. I downloaded Madden 16 this morning and just jumped into it for the first time.

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It certainly has a great presentation, especially in the menus, however the initial load time was exceptionally long. It took a solid two minutes, if not longer, just to get through the title screen. The tutorial (a dramatized Super Bowl game between the Steelers and the Cardinals) is presented well, however the frame rate is terrible on the Xbox One. It really distracts from what should be an exciting, dramatic Super Bowl game. It’s like watching a game in slow motion at times, while the screen pixelates and the audio cuts in and out.

Outside of the tutorial the gameplay still seems a little awkward. There seems to be a sort of slow motion effect whenever a pass is thrown. This may be because of the new catching mechanics (where you can choose between a possession catch, a catch that favors a run after the catch, and an aggressive catch) but it really makes the game feel unnatural. There are also some frame rate stutters that are severely noticeable during passes, but also crop up before tackles and many other situations.

If all the stutters get worked out, Madden 16 will certainly be the best looking football game to date. There are some new camera shots that aim to replicate what you see on TV, and the crowds certainly feel more alive (they include female fans for the first time as well!).

I haven’t tried out any of the new modes yet, but from what I’ve seen from the core gameplay I’m not impressed. Hopefully things will get patched up before the official release date (August 25), otherwise I may end up sticking to Madden 15 for a little while longer.

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 is out on iOS!

rollercoaster tycoon 3 ios

I was browsing the app store last night and was surprised to find a fully featured port of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 on the App Store for just $4.99. It seemed too good to be true, however after reading that there are no in-app purchases I decided to drop five bucks on a game that should provide hours upon hours of entertainment.

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 ios

The game features a career mode and a sandbox mode that provides you with unlimited money and no obstacles, allowing you to construct your dream park.

rollercoaster tycoon 3 ios screenshot

Creating rollercoasters is quite easy, but the fun begins once you test out your creations.

rollercoaster tycoon 3 ios first person view

rollercoaster tycoon 3 ios

You can hop onto your rollercoaster and ride it using a first person view which is pretty cool. After you’re satisfied with your ride you can open it to the public and start raking in the money!

Rollercoaster tycoon 3 ios

The game provides a large variety of options, especially for a five dollar mobile game. You can tweak settings such as the wait time between car departures down to the speed of your chain hills. RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 on iOS provides you with plenty of stats about all of your rides which fuels an addictive, incredibly satisfying gameplay loop of micromanaging your park to promote maximum satisfaction and in turn maximum profit.

I can already tell I’ll end up sinking way too many hours into RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 on my iPad. It’s hard to beat the many hours of entertainment the game provides for just $5. What’s even better are once you pay for the game you have access to everything. There are no microtransactions and no limitations on your gameplay. If you loved the RollerCoaster Tycoon games you need to check out this portable version. Just be warned, once you pick it up you might not want to put it down!

The Legends Football League: Sport or Sexploitation

Legends Football League

I was channel surfing this morning after work and came across an LFL (Legends Football League) game on FUSE. I decided to check it out and was surprised by what I saw. The Legends Football League, formally the Lingerie Football League, has its roots in the Lingerie Bowl halftime shows from 2004-2006. These were PPV events that aired during halftime of the NFL’s Super Bowl in which women dressed in lingerie played football. The main attraction then was of course the scantily clad women.

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An image promoting the 2004 Lingerie Bowl

In 2009 the yearly event morphed into a full on women’s football league, then called the Lingerie Football League. The league featured ten teams from football cities such as Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia and New York, and the teams each played four games during the regular season.

The LFL attempted to move beyond the lingerie aspect of their sport in 2013 when it rebranded itself as the Legends Football League and dropped lingerie uniforms in exchange for a more ‘sporty’ look.

Legends Football League 2015 uniform

A look at the LFL uniform in 2015

The uniforms alone make it hard to take the LFL seriously. Why are the jerseys folded up to expose the chest area? Why the bikini bottoms? The answer seems pretty clear, the LFL is less about athleticism and competition and more about sex, sex and sex. Is it wrong to be sexy? Certainly not, but the sexy attire is not at all necessary if the LFL wanted to focus on women playing the sport of football.

LFL

The presentation of the game isn’t very focused on the sport either. In the few minutes that I watched there were several clips of the coach on the sidelines and I felt like I was watching reality TV. The reactions and rampages by the coaches seemed scripted and fictitious. A¬†trailer for the 2015 season (see below) further degrades the sport, seeming more like a trailer for a reality TV show, and at one point a player tells a ref “you ain’t getting none after the game.”

The LFL’s website prominently features a quote from NBC Sports noting that “The LFL is the fastest-growing pro sports league in the nation.” Maybe this is true, yet the 2015 season featured only six teams, down from the ten team league from 2009.

I’m not trying to hate on the LFL, I just think it can do better for both the women who engage in the sport and the public perception of women’s sports in general. Let the players dress up in the same type of protective gear NFL players do. Focus on the athleticism and competitive nature of the sport, not the lack of clothing and sex appeal.

LFL uniforms

The LFL season wraps up this Sunday, August 23, with the 2015 Legends Cup featuring the Seattle Mist (5-1-1) versus the Chicago Bliss (6-0). The game will be played in Washington at 3PM. You can watch the game on Fuse, but it won’t be shown until the week after. This Saturday at 9PM Eastern Fuse will be showing the playoff game between Seattle and Los Angeles which was played on August 15th.

Rocket League is great!

Rocket League

Developer Psyonix’s Rocket League released on PC and PS4 on July 7th of this year and almost instantly became a smash hit. The game was made available for free to Playstation Plus members which helped get it into the hands of the masses rather quickly (it’s been downloaded over five million times). Many who played Rocket League became immediately hooked and raved about the game to all their friends.

rocket league

In Rocket League, teams of between one and four RC cars face off in a soccer arena with one simple goal: knock the soccer ball into the opposing team’s goal. The gameplay is rather simple, you just drive into the ball in an effort to push it into the goal. You can also pick up boost¬†which allows you to drive faster, useful for trying to get a jump on your opponents or when you need to chase down a wild ball. You’re also able to jump and spin in the air, which can be used to knock the ball out of the air or into the goal assuming you’re able to time it right.

Rocket League

Matches in Rocket League are short and sweet, just five minutes (unless you go into a sudden death overtime) which makes it a perfect pick up and play game. The problem is, once you pick it up you’re not likely to put it down. Rocket League matches are so wildly fun you’ll even have a blast losing. Matches that seem one sided can sway in favor of the losing team at any moment, and sudden death overtime is always a looming possibility. The rush of a tying goal with just seconds left on the clock never gets old.

Rocket League

I’ve known of Rocket League’s existence for awhile, however I had been holding out for an Xbox One version. We know Rocket League is set to expand onto other consoles, we just don’t know exactly when this will happen. Today I finally broke down and picked up Rocket League on Steam ($19.99) and it’s been a blast! I’ve only played a handful of matches but I’m already hooked. The very first game I played went into overtime with an equalizer scored with just nine seconds left on the clock. My team went onto win with a spectacular goal and I immediately saw just how exciting Rocket League could be.

Rocket League

I scored my first goal during the second game and I can’t wait to jump back into another game!

Rocket League

I’m playing Rocket League on a 2012 MacBook Pro running Windows 10 via Boot Camp. It has an Intel i5 (2.50 GHz), 8GB RAM and an Intel HD 4000 graphics card. It runs well on medium settings, with a few hiccups here and there which may just be lag (I can’t quite tell, adjusting graphic settings up or down doesn’t seem to have an impact).

Why I’m reluctant to check out Destiny’s expansions

destiny goliath tank

Ever since its release I’ve had mixed feelings about Destiny. I played the beta, enjoyed it and couldn’t wait for the game to release. Once release day came I was incredibly disappointed in the way the ‘story’ of Destiny was handled. There seemed to be no plot, or no overarching reason why I was going on any of the missions at all. There were blurbs of dialogue delivered with so little effort I didn’t even bother listening to them. Every mission seemed isolated from the one before and playing Destiny felt like playing a sort of random mission generator.

Despite the lack of story, I still immensely enjoyed the shooter aspect of Destiny. The shooting was rock solid and all of the weapons were exciting to use, at least for awhile. Before long most of the weapons ended up feeling the same, and I was never blown away by any of the loot drops. In games like Diablo there’s a constant drive to keep hacking away at enemies because some of the rare weapons that drop are significantly different than everything else and wielding those weapons makes you feel more powerful. Destiny never allows you to experience that feeling.

Destiny

Again, despite another negative aspect of the game, I’ve still been occasionally drawn to Destiny. There’s something enjoyable about jumping into a strike with two other people and working together to run through hordes of enemies before facing a bullet sponge boss. Unfortunately, like the story missions, there is very little variety in the strike missions. You’ll fight through easy to kill enemies until you face off against a predictable boss that will soak up thousands of bullets for anywhere between five and 15 minutes until it inevitably falls.

destiny xbox one screenshot

Even realizing all of Destiny’s negatives (and I’ve only scratched the surface), I’m still tempted to purchase the first two expansions: The Dark Below and House of Wolves ($19.99 each, or $34.99 with the expansion pass). I’d like to see the additional content (I’m only level 24 currently), but there’s one thing keeping me from investing the time and money: achievements. There are no achievements in either The Dark Below or House of Wolves. $40 worth of content offers up zero achievements. This might sound silly, but if I pay for additional content I expect to be able to earn some additional achievements. I can’t think of any downloadable content in the modern era of video games that hasn’t offered an additional set of achievements for the player to earn.

destiny

The forthcoming major Destiny expansion, The Taken King ($39.99, or $79.99 via a complicated pricing structure) will feature achievements. The question is, do I really want to play through hours and hours of content that is likely to be very similar to what I’ve already played just to get to a point where I can start earning achievements again? I’m not so sure that I do. Sure the first two expansions may be worth playing for the experience alone, but more often than not I hear Destiny spoken of negatively, even from the mouths of seasoned players.

Have you played the Destiny expansions? Were they worth it? Do you think they’re worth playing as a casual Destiny player?

PNY SD cards and USB sticks 50% off on Amazon today

amazon PNY memory

I was browsing Facebook and came across a deal too good not to share. For the next 14 hours or so you can save 50% on select PNY memory (micro SD, SD and USB sticks) on Amazon. I’m really tempted to pick up a 128GB thumb drive for $29.99.