The second Wonder Woman movie won’t arrive until late 2019, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the plot of Diana Prince’s (Gal Gadot) next adventure–especially if you’re director Patty Jenkins. Jenkins, who helmed the first movie in the franchise and will once again take the reigns on the sequel, is also working on the film’s script with DC head Geoff Johns and writer David Callaham (Godzilla).
In an interview with Variety’s Playback podcast, Jenkins revealed a little about the direction of the movie. Once again, Jenkins is looking to Wonder Woman herself as inspiration for the new film. “It’s really still going to other values of hers, and a similar formula insofar as making a great, enjoyable fun movie but that ultimately in its third act turns some very big issues, and a very big experience that will aim to have slightly more weight and profundity than it has to have,” she says. “Because that’s a formula that I really like, and I like the idea of taking somebody on a very solid, great journey but that arrives at a bigger question being answered.”
There will be one major change, though. The first Wonder Woman film explored Diana’s roots on the island of Themyscira, before she became the world-famous superhero. Now, Jenkins says, “She’s fully developed, it’s got great fun from the start and great big superhero presence from the start.”
It sounds like the movie will also continue trying to brighten up the dark and dour world of the DC Extended Universe. While Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice were practically void of any humor and positivity, Wonder Woman was a total departure. It was a movie filled with hope and laughs, and it reminded viewers what kind of superhero could lead the DCEU. Now, as they works on the second film, Jenkins says Wonder Woman 2 “is funny and a great love story again and a couple new unbelievable characters who I’m so excited about, who are very different than were in the last movie.”
The bit about it being a love story is very interesting given that Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), Diana’s love interest in the first movie, didn’t make it out alive. Perhaps that’s where the new character’s Jenkins mentions come in.
Wonder Woman 2 arrives in theaters on November 1, 2019.
Earlier this month, we first heard the murmurs in the dark: a Lord of the Rings TV show was in development over at Amazon. And then the confirmation with details arrived: not only was the show happening, it would be a prequel to the original tale, set in the years before Frodo Baggins and the Fellowship embarked on their quest to destroy the One Ring and save Middle-earth from oblivion.
If Amazon feels like an unlikely home for this project, that’s because…well, it is. And if you wonder why HBO didn’t scoop it up first…well, that’s because they never entered the bidding war in the first place.
If you’re hoping for a big, dramatic reason why HBO (the home of the Peakest TV of the Peak TV era) decided to not enter the Lord of the Rings business, settle down. It’s nothing too juicy.
Variety reports that the network said no to Middle-earth for one simple reason: they already have Westeros. Why pay out the nose for a massively popular fantasy world when you already have the rights to one that you’ve cultivated and grown and transformed into a modern pop culture institution? Why does the network that makes Game of Thrones, and is currently planning multiple spin-offs to fill the void when the show ends after its fifth season, need Lord of the Rings? They don’t! While Lord of the Rings (and to a lesser extent, the Hobbit prequels) were big screen blockbusters, they have yet to prove themselves as viable for television adaptation. HBO is sitting pretty with Game of Thrones. They don’t have to build anything new. It’s cozy in the Red Keep. It’s good to be king.
The Variety article is full of business-speak that backs all of this up, including a quote from HBO CEO Richard Plepler, who said, “I’d rather own our IP [intellectual property] 100%…and I’d rather have the ability to work with a product that is inextricably linked to our brand.”
Of course, the amusing thing to note here is that Game of Thrones owes much of its success to Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson’s three-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s magnificent series proved that fantasy was viable among modern audiences…and then Game of Thrones showed up at just the right time to subvert everything about Tolkien’s humanistic approach with its weary, conniving, backstabbing cast of monsters. They’re two sides of the same coin, balancing one another out. The fact that Amazon sees Lord of the Rings as “their” Game of Thrones is inherently amusing because these worlds couldn’t stand further apart on a pure moral level. In fact, the only people who can’t say this is amusing in any way are the folks at Amazon, who are shoveling over $250 million just for the right to make the series happen and don’t have laughter in their budget.
HBO was big before Game of Thrones became an international sensation, but the fantasy series redefined what television can be. Now, it’s up to Amazon to top that with whatever their Lord of the Rings show turns out to be…and up to HBO to top that with the Game of Thrones spin-off(s) that eventually get the green light. In the game of fantasy television adaptations, you win or you die, it seems.
The post HBO Passed on the ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV Series – Here’s Why appeared first on /Film.
Ever wonder which are smarter, cats or dogs? You can teach dogs to sit, roll over, play dead, etc, which cats don’t do on command. But hey, my cats can knock over water glasses and steal food off a plate when no one is looking – that oughta count for some kinds of smarts. Maybe they’re just too “stubborn” to learn tricks because they’re too clever to take orders from humans.
Wishful thinking. The verdict is in, and cats are stupider than dogs.
In the first study of its kind, researchers at Vanderbilt looked at the brains of animals, including cats, dogs, ferrets, mongooses (mongeese?), raccoons, hyenas, lions and brown bears. Specifically, they looked at “the number of neurons in their cerebral cortex: the ‘little gray cells’ associated with thinking, planning and complex behavior — all considered hallmarks of intelligence,” according to Vanderbilt.
As far as dogs and cats go, the study found that dogs have about 530 million cortical neurons while cats have about 250 million. (That compares to 16 billion in the human brain.)
“I believe the absolute number of neurons an animal has, especially in the cerebral cortex, determines the richness of their internal mental state and their ability to predict what is about to happen in their environment based on past experience,” [Associate Professor of Psychology and Biological Sciences Suzana] Herculano-Houzel explained.
“I’m 100 percent a dog person,” she added, “but, with that disclaimer, our findings mean to me that dogs have the biological capability of doing much more complex and flexible things with their lives than cats can. At the least, we now have some biology that people can factor into their discussions about who’s smarter, cats or dogs.”
Cats, don’t take it too hard, you’re in good company. Brown bears were also found to be dumber than previously thought. Although a brown bear has a “respectable brain,” according to Herculano-Houzel, the study found that the brown bear has only one-fifth of the neurons researchers had expected to find.
from Boing Boing https://boingboing.net/2017/11/30/which-are-smarter-cats-or-dog.html
Oh, and there’s a new Coupe version, too
from The Verge – All Posts https://www.theverge.com/transportation/2017/11/30/16720920/bmw-i8-roadster-coupe-photos-la-auto-show-2017
Destinations around the U.S. are dressing up for Christmas with trees, lights and holiday magic. Here’s a look at a few events, displays and other attractions.
One of the really interesting aspects of the Crisis on Earth-X crossover is that each segment had the crew of that show filming it. And while all the shows exist in the same universe, each series has their sort of niche. The second part of the event was an episode of Arrow, and while it was mostly seamless in that it felt like part of the whole and not an episode of Arrow, when it came to the fight scenes, it was definitely an episode of Arrow.
This part was directed by James Bamford, who has been the stunt coordinator for Arrow since season one and in the last few years started to direct. And where the other series tend to do a lot of CGI, Bamford is a practical stunt person — so when you see someone going flying across the room, someone really flew across the room. The Inside video for this episode of Arrow shows the coordination for the fight between Dark Arrow, AKA Earth-X Oliver Queen, and Wild Dog, Black Canary, Mr. Terrific, Heatwave, and Killer Frost. The fact that Dark Arrow wins and then he and Green Arrow fight to basically a draw (until DA is distracted)… just shows what a real badass Green Arrow is.
Arrow airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on the CW.
The post Arrow Season 6: Behind-the-Scenes Look at Dark Arrow vs. Team Arrow appeared first on Bleeding Cool News And Rumors.
Every time I open Instagram, I see three kinds of ads: hipster makeup, hipster clothes and corny-looking visual novels. It’s easy for me to resist the makeup and clothes, as I’m trying to downsize on both right now, but in a moment of weakness, I downloaded one of the visual novels last night. It is terrible. It oozes horniness. I can’t stop playing it.
Star Crossed Myth is a visual novel from game developer Voltage Inc., whose ads litter my Instagram feed. It’s about a girl who is suddenly courted by a series of handsome anime men, each with their own romance novel trope attached. They are also gods who live in the stars who are mostly amused by the nameless protagonist’s awe over them. It’s the kind of story that crops up a lot in cheesy romance-themed anime and visual novels, and also in a lot of fanfic. She’s a special girl, a reincarnation of a goddess, and these impossibly handsome men have deemed her and her alone worthy of their time. This is also the plot of Jupiter Ascending, a very stupid movie that I love where Mila Kunis falls in love with a space werewolf played by Channing Tatum, so I thought hey, why not.
Once I opened it up, I saw that the game has a pricing scheme that really adds up over time. You can play the first chapter of all the potential love interests for free, but buying the main story is another four dollars for every character. And from there, there’s an epilogue story, a sequel and an epilogue for the sequel, which all cost another two bucks each. When I saw that, I assumed that I’d probably delete Star Crossed Myth by the end of the night. Instead, I spent nine dollars on it.
This game pushed all my buttons. I do have a soft spot for dumb romances but I am almost ashamed of how hard I got played by this game. It is seethingly, aggressively horny. The love interest I chose, Leon, is described as “sadistic” in his bio, but I didn’t think the game would go so far as to actually get sexual about it. Usually these kinds of games rely on building tension without anything happening, and I thought Star Crossed Myth would be the same. I was very wrong about this. In his first, free chapter, Leon takes you to his mansion, undresses you, shoves you to your knees and tells you to beg for him. All of these star gods have special powers, and his is the power to grant humans “pleasure.” Basically, he can make you come by touching you. I am being totally serious here:
It went from zero to BDSM so fast that it gave me whiplash. And of course, the chapter ended on a cliffhanger, so without any hesitation I bought the rest of his story. And I played it twice, got both endings, and I watched the animated video you get for getting both endings where Leon confesses his love for you. The protagonist and Leon never had sex, but I was already in too deep. Leon has a specific illustration for when he’s being smug at you, and as a person who has awful taste in men this deeply appealed to me. Unlike in real life, over the course of the story you change his whole outlook on life. Because of you, and your special specialness, he went from a man who said that love is pointless and stupid to someone absolutely devoted to you.
This morning I woke up and checked my matches on Bumble, a dating app. I sent some guy a message, and then started swiping through DJs, stand up comedians and guys who say they’re financial analysts and look like Patrick Bateman. In real life, you can’t pick the dude who is going to align to all your kinks out of a line up. In Star Crossed Myth and other games from Voltage, you really, really can. In fact, I downloaded another one before I went to work today. It’s called Enchanted In The Moonlight, your potential suitors are all handsome anime boys that happen to be Japanese spirits. Before I even opened it, I could tell that Miyabi, the fox spirit, would have functionally the same personality as Leon. He too is a little cold, very possessive, a bit dismissive and by the end of the game I know I’ll find that, beneath it all, he has a tender heart.
Star Crossed Myth is bad. It’s got some weird sexual politics, it’s corny as hell, it crashed on me a couple times and the writing has a bunch of typographical errors. Today, I’m planning on buying the sequel to Leon’s story, as well as its epilogue. I’m probably not gonna hear back from that guy on Bumble, but I heard in one of Leon’s routes there’s a real sex scene, and I’m going to find it.
Our guide to film series and special screenings.
Official Nickelodeon Asia Press Release via Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Asia’s official Pressroom:
NICKELODEON AND TELKOMSEL PRESS PLAY ON “NICKELODEON PLAY” APP IN INDONESIA
Enjoy the best and funniest Nickelodeon content through Telkomsel’s VideoMAX – NICKELODEON PLAY subscription
Indonesia, 30 November 2017 – Nickelodeon, together with its partner Telkomsel, leading operator of cellular telecommunications services, has launched the Emmy award-winning Nickelodeon Play app in Indonesia.
Nickelodeon Play is a safe destination jam-packed with the best and funniest Nickelodeon content and is now available for free download from the App Store or Google Play. The first kids’ pack in the Telkomsel OTT stable, Telkomsel’s base of over 190 million mobile subscribers will be able to enjoy the complete Nickelodeon experience by subscribing to the VideoMAX NICKELODEON PLAY package. This offers a dedicated data plan for Nickelodeon Play, where fans can unlock premium content by selecting “VideoMAX NICKELODEON PLAY” via MyTelkomsel, or activate by dialing *363# through the Telkomsel mobile service menu. The app is available in Bahasa Indonesia or English, dependent on mobile device language settings.
“We’re delighted to introduce Nickelodeon Play to fans in Indonesia, especially when viewers and in particular kids in Indonesia, are accessing a wide range of devices to view content. The immersive and interactive app is a great new way to experience Nickelodeon’s unique brand of funny, while allowing kids to re-discover the content they already love,” said Ms. Syahrizan Mansor, Vice President, Nickelodeon Asia, Viacom International Media Networks.
Created for kids aged seven and above, and their parents and caregivers, users can look forward to regular new content, and unwind with non-stop humor and endless surprises. The content will include many full-length episodes, first and exclusive shows, short-form videos, games, and surprise elements from the network’s animated and live-action series.
Access to exclusive content requires a subscription with an affordable price of Rp 29,000, bundled with a 1.5 GB VideoMax data pack.
Crispin Peter Tristram, Vice President, Digital Lifestyle Telkomsel said, “Our customers appreciate entertainment on-the-go as well as the flexibility to watch what they want, when they want. Telkomsel’s partnership with Nickelodeon and the addition of Nickelodeon Play to our VideoMAX service, means that we can now better cater to our customers across ages, and give our subscribers greater choice and enjoyable entertainment with endless fun and surprise experiences, supported by our 4G network.”
The Nickelodeon Play app features:
- Hundreds of episodes for non-stop laughs with the family
Free access to selected episodes and on-demand access to Nickelodeon’s popular series such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Avatar: The Legend of Aang, and ALVINNN!!! and The Chipmunks.
Free games to keep you engaged on-the-go
- From action, to puzzle, to strategy game categories – fans can try various games such as Super Brawl World, Bikini Bottom Tic Tac Toe, and Block Party 3.
Endless surprises on-the-go
- The app promotes self-discovery as kids can uncover different things as they interact with the app anytime, anywhere. Check out the ‘Do Not Touch’ button for random surprises at your fingertips!
In Asia, Nickelodeon Play was first launched in Singapore in 2016 and Indonesia is the second market in the region to launch it. Nickelodeon Play is part of Viacom Play Plex, a suite of mobile apps for each of Viacom’s major international brands, offering video-on-demand (VOD) access to a range of current and library content, and other short-form, game and music video content.
Telkomsel is Indonesia’s largest mobile operator with more than 190 million subscribers. To serve customers all over Indonesia, including in remote areas, outer islands and border areas, Telkomsel has built more than 152,000 BTSs. Telkomsel has consistently implemented technology roadmap of 3G, HSDPA, HSPA +, as well as being the first mobile operator in Indonesia to commercially launched the 4G LTE services. Entering digital era, Telkomsel has been continuously developing a wide range of digital business, such as Digital Advertising, Digital Lifestyle, Mobile Financial Services and Internet of Things. To serve the needs of customers, Telkomsel operates a 24-hour call center and GraPARI across Indonesia.
Nickelodeon, now in its 38th year, is the leading entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus special events, consumer products, digital, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s brands reach 1.2 billion cumulative subscribers in more than 170 countries and territories, via more than 100+ locally programmed channels and branded blocks. Outside of the United States, Nickelodeon is part of Viacom International Media Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. For more information about Nickelodeon in Asia, visit www.nick-asia.com.
ABOUT VIMN ASIA PRESS
Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), is comprised of many of the world’s most popular multimedia entertainment brands, including MTV, MTV LIVE HD, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Comedy Central, Paramount Channel, and more. Viacom brands reach more than 3.4 billion cumulative subscribers in 180+ countries and territories via more than 200 locally programmed and operated TV channels and more than 550 digital media and mobile TV properties, in 40 languages. Keep up with VIMN news by visiting the VIMN PR Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/VIMN_PR. For more information about Viacom and its businesses, visit www.viacom.com, blog.viacom.com and the Viacom Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/Viacom.
Additional source: EchoEcho.com.
Follow NickALive! on Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, via RSS, on Instagram, and/or Facebook for the latest Nickelodeon Asia and Nick Play News and Highlights!
Learning the true story behind something mysterious and otherworldly can be as disappointing as it is enlightening. Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 cult hit The Room is those things and more–an uncanny, unintentionally surreal drama that makes such little sense that viewers often begin to doubt their own sanity after watching it. The Disaster Artist, James Franco’s film about the making of The Room, explains how it came to be, which is both a good and bad thing.
The Disaster Artist shines a spotlight on the crazy journey of Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, The Room’s co-star and co-author of the book on which this is based, The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, The Greatest Bad Film Ever Made. In doing so, the movie may take away some of the magic for those who love to hate (or simply love!) The Room. But that’s not The Disaster Artist‘s most serious flaw. That would be the way it smooths over certain real life details, all in the name of transforming The Disaster Artist into a tidier, more easily digested bromance story.
Yes, The Disaster Artist simplifies the story of the making of The Room, one of the most obtuse movies ever made, in order to make it more accessible. How’s that for irony?
For example, there’s the question of whether Sestero, played in The Disaster Artist by James Franco’s brother Dave Franco, actually wanted to be in The Room. In his book, Sestero claims he knew the movie would be steamy garbage and resisted Wiseau stubbornly, until the filmmaker offered him heaps of money–and a new car–to star alongside him. That was the night before shooting, when the character Mark was already cast, and instead of firing the actor who Sestero was now replacing, Wiseau insisted on shooting every scene twice, once with each actor, until some of the cast caught onto the fact that the cameras weren’t actually rolling for half the takes.
In the Francos’ version of events, Sestero agrees to play Mark immediately and enthusiastically, naively convinced The Room will be great, even after reading the famously terrible original script. In the process, the movie erases multiple real people from the narrative–people who got seriously screwed over by Wiseau and his boneheaded antics. That’s doubly problematic because this isn’t ancient history–we’re talking about events that unfolded around 15 years ago, not in the distant past.
And yet, if the goal was to make the story into a more easily digested narrative–however ironic that might be–it worked. Wiseau is both a huge a-hole and utterly convinced of his own saintliness, and The Disaster Artist embraces him as a character. James Franco’s portrayal of the eccentric enigma of a person, from his shambling, hunched-over stature to his unplaceable accent and speech patterns, is both spot-on and often unflattering. Yet the movie makes something plausible–even relatable–out of the unlikely-seeming friendship between him and Greg. Unsurprisingly, the Franco brothers have great chemistry together.
The Disaster Artist is also unforgivingly hilarious. In addition to the Francos, the cast is filled with great comedic minds like Seth Rogen, Paul Scheer, Hannibal Buress and Jason Mantzoukas, and great actors like Alison Brie (GLOW, Community, Mad Men), Josh Hutcherson (Hunger Games), and, briefly, Bryan Cranston, who plays himself in a single scene. In portraying the making of The Room, these actors also, by necessity, remade big chunks of it, and they couldn’t resist putting the two side-by-side at the end. The results will have you in stitches, even if you find The Room itself unwatchable.
The whole thing still centers on Wiseau and Sestero. It’s understandable and, ultimately, forgivable that The Disaster Artist turns their weird, complicated friendship into something more straightforward, and it’s fun to watch James Franco prance around as Wiseau–truly one of the strangest people alive–while the younger Franco plays straight man at his side.
The Disaster Artist also doesn’t shy away from the darker aspects of this story. As Sestero recounted in his book, Wiseau refused to listen to anyone, including his script supervisor, director of photography, costume supervisor, makeup artist, fellow actors, and even Sestero himself, when it came to making The Room. The months-long shoot was marred by hellish working conditions, all of which Wiseau singlehandedly inflicted on those involved in order, it seems, to adhere to some twisted vision of what he thought making a “real Hollywood movie” should be like.
That Wiseau ultimately found a form of success with this doesn’t excuse his methods, and although The Disaster Artist makes him somewhat relatable, Sestero remains the viewpoint character, an unimpeachable wall of non-understanding ever present between the audience and Wiseau–as it is in real life.
To this day, nobody knows (at least publicly) where Tommy Wiseau is from, how old he is, or where he got his riches. The Disaster Artist doesn’t elaborate on any of those details, and if James Franco knows the answers, he’s not telling. But the movie does help shine a light on how The Room got made–even as it glosses over some of the story’s most unfortunate details–and why some people find it so irresistible. Whether you’re one of those people or not, The Disaster Artist is a fascinating and entertaining watch.
|The Good||The Bad|
|The Francos are great as Tommy and Greg||Oversimplified version of events|
|Hilarious all the way through||Leaves out some real people who Wiseau screwed over|
|Excellent supporting cast|
|Doesn’t shy from most unflattering details|
Battlefield 1 continues the franchise’s tradition of launching in a somewhat patchy state, only to be bolstered through ongoing developer support. In the past 12 months, the game has added 22 maps and seven modes, along with millions of new players. Let’s examine BF1’s launch state, its evolution through updates, and the radical multiplayer tweaks that have been implemented in year one.
Back in 2016, futuristic shooters full of jet packs and wall-running were the norm. Then came Battlefield 1, a game set during the Great War which promised to bring players back to the golden era of FPS games. The core Battlefield formula of large-scale warfare consisting of tanks, planes, boats, and infantry remained the same, but a retro aesthetic grounded all of it in the 1910’s.
Getting more granular, Battlefield 1 ditched ditched lock-on explosive launchers, helicopters, and low time-to-kill weapons, all of which gave this entry to the series a unique flavor. Facing a tank for the first time was a jarring experience, and it encouraged players to work together. This subtle change in mechanics shook up the previously traditional rock-papers-scissor gameplay, delighting some players while infuriating others. In general, people no longer had super-deadly weapons in each class, which forced players into squad-play in order to succeed. In a dramatic about-face from
Battlefield 4’s rocky launch, BF1 managed a release largely devoid of major game-breaking issues, while also garnering acclaim from many review outlets.
Right now we’re halfway through the roll-out of four planned DLC map additions. This time we’ve been treated to 6 maps in each pack, as opposed to the usual 4 in older entries. If you’ve found it hard to keep track of the roll out, you’re not alone. DICE L.A. have chosen to break up the map’s release schedule, opting to dribble out the odd single map such as Nivelle Nights and Prise de Tahure on their own.
At the same time, this new content distribution model has staved off the familiar DLC fatigue: instead of playing a bunch of new maps and getting sick of them in a week, players are enjoying a more steady trickle of new content. But these staggered releases have also made things more complicated when paired with the season pass, which gives early access to certain maps. Unless you’re a hardcore fan, it might be hard to keep track of when new content is actually available for everyone.
The DLC maps are pretty solid, though the general consensus is that none of them are blowing anyone’s socks off. Still, from the idyllic green fields of France to the desolate barren tundra of Russia, there is enough location variety to keep players engaged. The new maps also offer a range of gameplay: the claustrophobic shotgun-peppered halls of Fort Vaux, for example, or the sprawling sniper-infested fields of Galicia come to mind. While these map additions expand the gameplay loops offered by the vanilla maps, the DLC maps have not reinvented the wheel.
The new vehicles and weapons have offered new styles of play without demolishing the existing game balance. The new Ilya-Muromets Heavy Bomber plane can drop massive ordnance from high altitudes, while adopting a mechanic familiar to Transport Helicopter pilots of past Battlefield games. The vehicle acts as a makeshift troop transport with its four-seat capacity, while allowing the 4th player to spawn as support and repair the plane mid-flight. The newest land vehicle, the Putilov-Garford, is outright silly and deserving of a special mention. This Russian armored truck has a tank turret that can’t aim directly forwards, leading to pro players driving in reverse into battle.
New weapons like the Support class’ Parabellum MG14 punctuate the battlefield with it’s ludicrous rate-of-fire, while the Obrez pistol gives players in all classes a sniper-like sidearm. Besides the overall unimpressive Mosin-Nagant Sniper rifle and the General Liu Medic rifle, the Assault kit received the most love. My favorite new Assault gun has to be the Model 1900 double-barrel shotgun that can discharge both barrels as fast as you can click the left mouse button, making it an absolute beast in close-quarters combat.
The DLC standout
The hottest thing going on in BF1’s retail client at the moment is undoubtedly the Frontlines game mode introduced with the DLC They Shall Not Pass. As of today we have 4 maps from the base game getting the Frontlines treatment (Monte Grappa, Ballroom Blitz, Argonne Forest, Amiens) available to all players. This mode sees two teams each fighting over one flag at a time, guaranteeing violent clashes focused over a small piece of real-estate. This 32-man mode offers the most intense firefights seen to date in BF1. It encourages thoughtful, calculated teamwork, rewarding teams that can consistently execute strategic offensive and defensive plays.
After the central flag is captured, it disappears and a new one appears closer to the enemy team’s base, pushing the play across the map. If a team manages to push the flags all the way to their enemy’s base, the last objective is to destroy two telegraph posts, a mechanic pulled straight from the Rush game mode. At this point the attacking team gets a 75 ticket lifeline to get the job done and win the match. If the tickets run out, then the defenders push the attackers back to the most recent flag where the fight begins anew.
Frontlines feels like it channels the joy of American Football, where 2 large teams focus on one play at a time to move the ball downfield. Sometimes there’s a drawn-out fight to make the equivalent of a few yards gain, other times the action will snowball and you’ll see the ball driven 70 yards in one push. The thrill is seeing how quickly a team’s fortunes can change. Witnessing a defending team making a desperate stand on their 1-yard line with 7 minutes to go, only to rally and make a push all the way to their competitors end-zone for the win conjures more “feels” than a 50-man killstreak in Team Deathmatch ever could.
Big Class Shake-ups
BF1 launched without class specializations or “perks,” a major deviation from the precedent established in previous Battlefield games. DICE L.A. have recently added this feature in the September 1.13 patch concurrently with the second DLC pack: In the Name of the Tsar. The class play in BF1 already felt more-or-less balanced before this reshuffling, so players were apprehensive to see if these new perks would throw that delicate harmony off-kilter.
The overall reception to this patch has been mixed, with players unsure what to make of the dramatic mid-cycle alteration to the game’s core formula. The main issue wasn’t even the new mechanics, but the brutal requirements to unlock these class specializations. The more egregious offenders like getting 30 squad-wipes, or destroying 25 cars with limpet mines, left core players who had already sunk hundreds of hours in the game severely unimpressed.
The new mechanics themselves seem well-received, offering a deeper level of customization and encouraging thoughtful gameplay.
There are 15 specializations in total, featuring seven available across all classes, with two tailor-made for each class individually. By adding details like the Medic’s ability to materialize a smoke grenade on the bodies of fallen comrades or the Sniper’s ability to automatically deploy a decoy when struck by an enemy sniper, DICE L.A. have made familiar archetypes feel new again.
The meta is due for another revamp soon, with DICE slated to lower the “Time to Kill” (TTK). This much-requested fix will make all weapons more powerful, reducing the time it takes to fell an opponent. This promises to bring the TTK much more in-line with BF4, a game where getting the drop on an enemy almost always got you the kill. Hopefully DICE can make these changes without upsetting the overall balance of the game.
The dirty little secret of 3rd-party PC servers in the Battlefield franchise was that there were never any standards enforced for server providers. It was common to see a provider pack a physical server box with as many virtual servers as they could get away with, often leading to laggy online play, dropped packets, and frustrated PC gamers.
Enter EA’s new directive, which wrestled control away from 3rd party servers and ushered in a more tightly-curated online experience through official servers. The flip side was that our only option for player-run servers was to rent them directly from EA in-game. This controversial change took control from player-run servers, which have been a hallmark of the Battlefield experience on PC for 15 years.
The upshot to this change in thinking was that EA could ensure a minimum threshold for the server’s quality, forcing a new standard of 60-tic servers across the board. For players who suffered through the paltry 10-tic servers of BF4 at launch, this was a welcome improvement. Sadly, another casualty of this alteration is that features for server admins have been totally gutted. Ban lists, an in-game menu, player lists out-of-game, modifier ranges beyond %200, specific weapon bans, disabling the Behemoth spawn, reserved slots, and assigning other admins are all MIA. Being able to customize servers have always given players a reason to seek out a particular virtual haunt time and again, making friends and developing a sense of community around their favorite server. Now the few custom servers that exist are almost indistinguishable from stock servers.
In November 2016, popular YouTuber JackFrags tweeted that he had used the “quick play” function only to be shuffled into a custom server. His intention was clearly to find a server running the official DICE preset, and was suitably miffed to find himself in a community-run custom server instead. DICE subsequently patched the game so when a player joins via the “quick play” button, they’re folded into an official DICE server running at stock settings. This effectively killed off 95% of all custom servers with one fell swoop.
To DICE’s credit, it seems that any populated player-owned server gets bumped to the top of the list when using the server browser today. The downside is that you still need enough players to hit critical mass to even get the server started in the first place.
Currently in the works is a true 5 vs 5 competitive Battlefield mode, Incursions. The Incursions game mode is now entering its second month of very limited closed-beta access as a stand-alone client.
Incursions takes a valiant stab at condensing familiar competitive game mechanics like small teams, a formal scoring structure, and high skill-cap play. They’ve also injected a daring reconfiguration of the classic soldier classes which look nothing like their base-game counterparts. For instance, the tank-driver class has to get out of the tank to repair it with a wrench. This class can throw health packs, but the medic class can only revive. The support’s mortar fires much faster and more accurately than in the base game, giving tankers a run for their money. Every aspect of gameplay gets the custom treatment, from the spotting mechanic to the scoring rules, and even the maps themselves. DICE L.A. have already gone through 2 iterations of the one playable map, completely tearing down all the terrain and building placement they’ve built and starting from scratch, demonstrating that they intend to let this mode bake until it’s just right.
One year after launch, Battlefield 1’s total player count is still respectable, drooping down to around 10,000 as the baseline for the least populous platform, the PC. At its peak we’re still seeing 120,000 players across the PS4, Xbox One, and PC combined. All indications point towards a healthy continuing player interest for this entry of the Battlefield series.
Battlefield 1 has demonstrated a competent first year of support and content, with the promise of new modes and 12 DLC maps yet to come. For Battlefield 1's triumphs and disappointments, the experience still delivers on its core promise: every spawn feels unique.
Nick’s Adelson’s devotion to the win dominates his life, haphazardly tossing aside the tattered remains of loving relationships, gainful employment, and personal hygiene.
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James Franco directs and stars in this fictionalized look at the making of “The Room,” which fans call the worst movie ever made.
‘The Shape of Water’ Was Originally Pitched as a Black and White Movie; Could We See That Version on Home Video?
Guillermo del Toro‘s fantasy romance The Shape of Water opens in limited release this weekend, and this story of a mute woman falling in love with a fish man is full of lush, vibrant colors, gorgeous aquatic hues, and the level of visual splendor for which del Toro is best known. But we nearly saw an entirely different version of the movie: according to the film’s production designer, del Toro originally pitched The Shape of Water as a black and white film.
Entertainment Weekly sat down with the film’s production designer Paul Austerberry, who explained how the movie shifted to its current color palette:
“When it was in black and white, the budget was $12 million,” Austerberry said. (Del Toro put the hypothetical black-and-white budget at $16.5.) “And then Fox Searchlight said, ‘You know, if you make it color, we’ll make it $19.6 million.’ We were struggling at even $19.6 million to get it all down, so thankfully it went that way…
“I was a bit nervous about the black and white, because color is such a strong element that you can play with in a story or movie to help shape the mood. When people see the movie, they comment a lot on the color, so I’m glad we went that way.”
Though I think the colors in The Shape of Water give the movie its soul, part of me was still curious: might we see a The Shape of Water black and white cut on home video, in the vein of recent movies like Mad Mad: Fury Road or Logan? But later in the EW piece, del Toro seems to reject that notion by revealing that his black and white pitch was purely a strategic move on his part and never something he legitimately intended to do:
“To be disarmingly and horribly honest, it was a pawn sacrifice. It was one of those things that I knew I was not really interested in, but I knew I needed to appear reasonable. ‘Oh, Guillermo. He’s such a nice guy. He gave up black and white.’”
That’s hilarious. Rarely do we hear about this level of finagling that has to happen to get a movie made, but del Toro – a prolific talker who loves to peel back the curtain on the filmmaking process – just came right out and explained the truth of the matter. I wonder if anyone at Fox Searchlight feels burned by this…but if they do, I imagine that burn will fade considerably once Oscar nominations start coming out, because del Toro’s film is considered a contender in multiple categories.
For more about The Shape of Water, be sure to read Chris Evangelista’s review from the Toronto International Film Festival, find out how the creature was made, and check out my transcription of a recent Q&A in which del Toro, Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Richard Jenkins, and more revealed some intriguing highlights about making the movie.
The Shape of Water arrives in theaters in New York on December 1, 2017 and expands wider in subsequent weeks.
Image Comics is collecting Firebug, originally serialized in The Island, as its own trade paperback next March. A press release provides the details on the comic by cartoonist Johnnie Christmas and colorist Tamra Bonvillain:
A volcano goddess named Keegan is loose in the world, and the prophecies are unclear whether her coming will bring humanity’s destruction or its salvation.
In the shadow of a sacred volcano from which Keegan derives her powers, lies the ancient city of Azar. To unravel the mysteries of her past, Keegan and her friends must get to Azar before it is overrun by a horde of forest monsters. Meanwhile, the nefarious Cult of the Goddess has plans to summon forces as old as time to extinguish Keegan’s flame permanently.
“Firebug is a comic I’ve wanted to make for years now!” said Christmas in the press release. “I’m excited to finally get it out into the world in such style: Tamra Bonvillain on colors, Ariana Maher on letters/design, and published by Image Comics. I couldn’t ask for a better way to present this fun, exciting, and touching adventure to readers!”
“I always love working with Johnnie,” added Bonvillain, “and it’s exciting to work with him on his first self-written OGN, and to have Ariana join us as well.”
The book hits comic book shops on March 7th and bookstores outside the superhero-industrial complex on March 13th. You should consider picking it up, but don’t take our word for it… just look at the art below:
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