Comparisons to Rockstar Games’ unbelievably popular crime opus, Grand Theft Auto, are always apt with the Yakuza series. Like those games, Yakuza Zero, a prequel to the prior five main entries and several spin-offs in the series, attempts to provide a snapshot of the culture embodied in its distinct setting (fictionalized cities in America in Grand Theft Auto, Japan in Yakuza) by telling stories about their criminal underbellies. Though fundamentally similar in this way, it’s the cultural distinctions that make both games into well-crafted, interactive time capsules, albeit with some confounding elements.
After years of waiting, between only fans wishing for it to multiple setbacks, the Warcraft movie finally crashed onto movie screens this weekend. Thus far, it has earned a lowly 29% on Rotten Tomatoes, and many reviews of the movie have not been good. I’ve never been one to take a reviewer’s word for it when it comes to movies, otherwise I would never have bothered with Pacific Rim, Starship Troopers, and many others that have found their way onto my DVD shelf. I ventured out today thanks to the kindness of a friend who also wanted to see it.
I was NOT disappointed in the least. So many times, video game movie adaptations come off hokey and things are just so completely wrong that those involved with it are almost cursed after the movie’s release (I’m looking at you, Prince of Persia).
By Tyler Hodg
Beloved video game series Ratchet and Clank has made its way to the big screen, and much to fans’ delight, embodies the unique attributes that turned the franchise into something of substance in the first place. While the CGI film is bumpy at times, it never feels like a forced project developed strictly for monetary reasons, and celebrates the classic story that many have grown up with.
“The Rondo awards, named after Rondo Hatton, an obscure B-movie villain of the 1940s, recognize the best in classic horror research, creativity and film preservation. This year’s e-mail vote, conducted by the Classic Horror Film Board, an 18-year old online community, drew a record of more than 3,400 votes as fans chose among 35 categories.”
Well done, Rue Morgue!
If you’re looking for some new music this week, might we suggest checking out Popshifter’s exclusive stream of Bloody Knives’ I Will Cut Your Heart Out For This, which dropped on April 15? It’s shoegaze, it’s goth, it’s got gorgeous vocals, and it’s loud as hell.
Also on the new music list is a live album from Professor Longhair recorded in 1976, the Nigerian music compilation Wake You Up! Volume 1, and eccentric pop singer Dinner’s Psychic Lovers. Meanwhile, on the Everything Is Scary blog, I discuss how Manchester duo Demdike Stare’s collages of sound and imagery provoke responses akin to nightmares.
Have you ever heard of Clela Rorex? She issued the first gay marriage license in Boulder, CO in 1975, thus helping to chip away at bigotry and homophobia.
Matt Keeley at Unicorn Booty discusses, in detail, how the recent trans episode of Powerpuff Girls is actually transphobic. But on the other hand, there’s also a heartwarming post about how Rihanna helped one of her gay fans come out. With all the news of homophobic celebs, it’s nice to read something positive.
In further TV news, Tyler Hodg has finished Season 10 of Trailer Park Boys on Netflix. Despite being mostly disappointed with this season, he thinks that the finale was excellent and might even make you cry, in addition to paving the way for an even better Season 11.
Laury Scarbro is equally smitten with the most recent episodes of Outsiders and Sachin Hingoo feels much the same about Broad City. Speaking of Broad City, Sachin has a preview of the upcoming mini-series Time Traveling Bong, starring Ilana Glazer and Paul W. Downs. Rue Morgue gives Tom Noonan, who stars in the SyFy TV version of 12 Monkeys, the “Sinister Seven” and Biff Bam Pop recaps the premiere episode of Season 4 of Orphan Black!
In the mood for gaming? Although Tim Ford at Everything As Scary thinks Don’t Starve: Shipwrecked is less scary than its predecessor, he still gives it a fair shake.
There is much to discuss on the movie front. The casting of Scarlett Johansson in the upcoming film adaptation of Japanese Manga Ghost in the Shell has many crying “whitewashing” (and for good reason). Jeffery X Martin looks at the Death Walks Twice Giallo box set from Arrow, I am gravely disappointed in new horror flick 13 Cameras, and Women and Hollywood has a list of women-centric films playing near you this week.
Finally, if you haven’t heard of Doreen Valiente, that should change. This VICE article points out that this mother of modern witchcraft was also a pro-choice spy.
By Tyler Hodg
Full disclosure: I have never been a fan of anime, nor have I actually fully played any Final Fantasy games.
Blasphemy, I know.
Let Haircut 100 make you happy.
Our tireless SXSW Film Festival correspondent Brad Henderson has returned to bring you reviews of all the genre films playing at this year’s SXSW. First up, is The Greasy Strangler, which is as gross and weird as its title suggests. Look for more SXSW movie reviews next week on Popshifter!
Everyone has been talking about 10 Cloverfield Lane and Jeffery braved the multiplex to bring you this non-spoilery yet mega-praiseworthy review.
Stepping outside of the horror genre for a moment, Jeffery also checked out the unexpected delights of the new Pee-wee Herman movie called Pee-wee’s Big Holiday. Joe Manganiello obviously needs to take on more comedy roles.
Another premiere on Netflix this week is the much-anticipated second season of Marvel’s Daredevil. I’ve got the scoop on the first seven episodes of the season over at Biff Bam Pop.
In some exciting and unexpected TV casting news, Andy Burns at Rue Morgue reports that Canadian punk rock and acting legend Hugh Dillon is going to be on the new season of Twin Peaks next year. Yet another reason to tune in, as if you needed any.
Sachin has two Lucha Underground recaps this week because last week’s episode, “Death Comes In Threes,” threw him for a loop, and not necessarily in an enjoyable way. The good news is that the show has recovered quickly with the excellent “Life After Death.”
Another show that had a stellar episode was Outsiders, which as Laury reports, finally got some serious character development and plot momentum with “Weapons.” And on The Walking Dead, we’re still in “The Same Boat” in terms of zombies, people dying, and not actually seeing Negan’s face.
So much music this week! Melissa has reviews of three of this week’s best releases: a spectacular album from Grant-Lee Phillips, the crazy Americana compilation Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music from Numero Group, and a brilliant reissue of the already-brilliant and woefully underappreciated Pelican West by Haircut 100. And from S. Elizabeth at Dirge Magazine, a gorgeous analysis of the equally-gorgeous Full Circle from HÆLOS.
More music news comes from Unicorn Booty’s NOW HEAR THIS! where you can find out about Michelle Obama’s new single (WHA?!), The Pet Shop Boys, and Malcolm McLaren’s annoying son.
Look for reviews of new releases from Dirty Sidewalks, Iggy Pop, and Lust For Youth soon on Popshifter.
In gaming news, you might be interested in this report about how one of the reps for Oculus Rift is a straight(-up) douchebag.
Fannibals got a hint of this in Hannibal’s second season (Achilles + Patrocles 4 LYFE), here’s more evidence that Greek mythology is way gayer than you thought.
What happened this week on Today In Pop Culture? Speaking of Greek mythology, we discuss Caligula, in addition to the Ides of March, St. Patrick, Wings, and Perry Como.
On March 3, Marvel Games launched its “Women of Power” event. This includes 25 new comic covers for some of Marvel’s more popular characters, as well as merchandise celebrating those characters, and will extend into various gaming platforms.
I really see no downside to their plan here. I suspect this is, at least in part, in recognition of the ever-growing female audience in the previously male-dominated worlds of gaming, comics, and all things geek related. It could be said that females, girls and women alike, are more openly taking an interest in these sorts of things than ever before, but the truth of the matter is, we’ve always been here. We might not have been so outward about it, but we’ve been here.
The best board games are the ones based on timeless concepts. Monopoly is based on greed and capitalism. Candy Land is all about sweet yummy things and matching colors, all essential parts of being a functioning pre-schooler. It should come as no surprise that one of the most popular and enduring board games is based on language.
On this date in 1955, Scrabble hit the shelves, eventually becoming one of the best-selling board games in history.
We’re entering the busiest time of year when it comes to the videogames industry, where publishers seek to cash in on holiday spending by releasing their biggest blockbusters. It’s both a great time and a terrible time to be a gamer. It’s great because there’s no shortage of amazing new titles to play, but it’s terrible because our budgets and free time are limited, so oftentimes most of us need to be extremely picky about the games we get now, and which games we feel we can wait a bit to get into (at least till they go on sale).
By Tyler Hodg
Video games aren’t typically associated with Hallowe’en the way movies and music are, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have the ability to make you shake in your boots. And that’s why I’ve compiled a short list of games that could also be a part of the scary season.
Before you start screaming in the comment section, I purposefully left out series such as Resident Evil, Dead Space, and Silent Hill. Those are givens, guys.