A Christmas Carol

I’m writing this post as Sisqi is courageously doing the grocery shopping while I’m at home with a bit of a cold. I’ve been dragging this bug for a few days now and it has turned into a runny nose with shivers kind of sick (Sing Soft Kitty!). Being sick in December has become some sort of tradition for me and I’d be a bit lost if it wouldn’t happen (as long as it’s not Covid, of course).

Anyway, we’re having an amazing end of 2021. We’re playing many games and, so far, our favourite is Marvel’s Guardians of The Galaxy. That game is incredible and we’ll probably write a lengthy post about it in January. 

We’ve already been through a big chunk of our TV schedule for the end of the year and the movie that we’ve enjoyed the most is Finch with Tom Hanks. As for the TV shows, we’ve watched the final season of Lost in Space and it is definitely at the top of our list.

But December isn’t over yet and we still have many great things in stock for the coming weeks… Oh, I almost forgot, above is a picture of the Lego tribute to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol that we’ve built Wednesday morning. Tis the season!

Edit 1: We don’t have Covid, yay! We just tested ourselves.

Edit 2: In the Christmas Lego above, there’s a secret compartiment that allows you to store super secret stuff. That’s so cool! Now, to find something secret to hide…

December 2021 TV Schedule

Each year, we resist the urge to follow the hype and watch all the movies and TV shows as they are released, so we have a ton of things to watch when our favourite time of the year finally comes.

It’s the second year that we prepare a schedule of what we’ll be watching at lunch, during the dinner and the evenings. Mostly, the plan gets adapted as we go, but you can see our December 2021 schedule by following this link.

We’re Ready!

One of our greatest pleasures at the end of the year is to build LEGO houses for our Christmas town while watching corny movies. This year, we’ve built Santa’s Visit and it was super fun! It’s the third house from the left on the panoramic. My only regret is that I didn’t take any picture inside the house because it’s really cool and very detailed.

We’ve watched Home Sweet Home Alone and it was much better than what people say, I actually had a few good laughs. Then we watched The Holiday, I had no idea that there was a Christmas movie with Jack Black seducing Kate Winslet, but it was pretty entertaining.

Our Xmas tree is up. We’ve used coloured lights this year and I don’t think that we’ll ever go back to white lights. For us, Christmas isn’t about classic interiors or design decorations, it’s about colours, toys and 80s movies. We both grew up between the 80s and the 90s and our childhood nostalgia has probably something to do with our vision of Christmas. That’s why December will always be a month spent at home, in pyjamas, playing cool games, watching a ton of things on TV and being all dreamy around our Xmas tree.

We didn’t wait for Black Friday, we did all our purchases at the beginning of November, to avoid being victim of the worldwide electronic shortage. I won’t reveal what’s under our tree yet, I’m not even supposed to know. However, we already treated ourselves with some early Xmas presents: 2 new Nintendo Switch Oled and 2 XBOX Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 for our PCs. For the rest, we’ll have to wait the 25th.

December is about to begin… Our PCs are filled with new games, there’s a ton of movies and TV shows to watch on streaming, we even have a lot of books and comic books to read. We’re ready for the greatest time of the year!

I won’t be posting much in the coming weeks, but I’ll make sure to catch back in January. Until then, we wish you all (the only 3 people who visit our blog and the Chinese spam bots), an excellent end of 2021.

AHS: Roanoke

One of the overall least popular seasons of American Horror Story is Roanoke. Granted, it isn’t my favourite either. It started off well, but instead of building up the story slowly, they directly went into full blow action and horror. They could have managed that better, in my opinion. While the first part let itself watch, the second became a drag and the end was mediocre. The reason why we went on to watch the show, is because we love the AHS cast. The actors are amazing, we got so attached to them that even a lesser season got us clung to the tv.

My Roanoke Nightmare is based on the true mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke:

In 1587 a small colony was founded on an island off the eastern coast of North America. The settlement would have been the first permanent English colony in the New World, had the settlers not disappeared owing to unknown circumstances. The lost colony of Roanoke is one of the most-notorious mysteries in American history; the cryptic clues left at the abandoned settlement and the lack of any concrete evidence make it the focus of wild speculation and theories. (source: brittanica.com)

An interesting topic which indeed leaves space for a lot of wild theories. I’ve read crazy ideas about zombie outbreaks, insane massacres, and all kinds of creepy stuff that only belong in horror movies. Nevertheless, I wonder how close AHS got to reality. Hopefully (most certainly) they are far off cause one thing is for sure, My Roanoke Nightmare is gruesome. From cannibalism to slaughter, they didn’t hesitate with the gore and were quite creative with the deaths of certain characters.

TLDR, I loved the first part of the show, but only went on watching it thanks to the excellent cast. The next and 7th season will be “AHS Cult”. I haven’t read anything about it so, I wonder what kind of horrific adventure Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck have in store for us this time.

Black Friday

We watched Black Friday on Black Friday and I don’t know what was worse: the movie or the sales day. I don’t care much about the sales day (I avoid it every year). As for the movie, it was bad. 

Just as in Ash vs Evil Dead, Bruce Campbell delivers a demonstration of overacting. The scenario is horrible and lacks pretty much everything that would keep us interested. The special effects of the final scene were laughable and we were so bored that we got restless in the coach. 

I get the whole analogy between customers and zombies, but it was made in the most boring way possible. My final advice: if you see Bruce Campbell in the credits of a movie, don’t watch it!

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

After years of instantly dismissing games like Assassin’s Creed for some made up stigmata; I solemnly swear that I’ll never be prejudice again. When AC Odyssey came out, I was quite negative without even having played it, but when I saw some breathtaking screenshots on twitter, I started doubting my negativity towards the AC franchise and all other games I’ve ever discarded without any valid reason. Now, I’m 60+ hours later in the game and I’m having a blast.

The game is so much fun for many reasons;

  1. It has a lot of diversity. You can go explore maps, quest, kill beasts, do naval battles, gather resources, complete objectives,… there’s always something for any kind of mood. 
  2. The gameplay in itself is great, intuitive and fun. You have the choice between warrior, hunter and assassin’s skills which you can mix up however you like. You can adapt your game to your own play style, I absolutely love this. Another plus is that you can reset your ability points whenever you want at a low cost. 
  3. The landscapes are jaw dropping, I sometimes stop everything to admire the beautiful view.
  4. The developers really went out of their way when it comes to detail. My advise is to play with a headset for the immersion. The sound of the environment and the interaction with it is so accurate and detailed, it feels lifelike.
  5. Swimming… It may sound weird, but I love to swim in Odyssey. The waves sometimes are threatening and daunting, but diving and swimming in general are so peaceful (if you can avoid the sharks and enemy ships hehe). Again the detail of the water, the way you shake off the water when climbing out of the sea, the sound of it,… they did an excellent job at Ubisoft creating this world.

If I may make just one suggestion: add a button “kick”. As you can see in the screenshot above, some of the bodies really don’t want to be disposed of and keep falling on the ledge where they remain… a little kick or push would do the trick though. It took me a while to get rid of that one. On another note, as you can see, some have a flair for dramatics when they die.

Another great thing that they’ve added to the game and that I’m going to mention here as a reminder for myself, is the screenshot mode within the game. I play AC Odyssey on Steam, so I can take screenshots with F12 which is great, but it doesn’t remove the interface. Since the game is always linked to a Ubisoft account, you can take screenshots by pressing F3. It makes your screen look like this:

As you can see, there are quite a few options for taking your perfect screenshot. Once you’ve taken it, it’ll be uploaded via your Ubisoft account for others to see. When you check out your map in game, you can see your screenshots as well as those of other people. The cool thing is you can drop a like on any of the pictures posted there.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m currently at 60+ hours in the game, and I’m only level 25. I’ve read somewhere that it usually takes 40+ hours, but I’m taking my time. When I check my map, more than half of it hasn’t been explored yet so, I guess I still have quite some fun ahead. I have to admit that I love to explore every nook and cranny, and complete every objective that crosses my path. At this rate I’ll be at a few hundreds of hours I think, but the longer it takes, the better. I wonder if AC Valhalla is as great. It certainly is on my list, and I will play it one day when I’ve completed Odyssey.

The Expanse – Season 5

Based on the science fiction novel series of the same name by James S.A. Corey, The Expanse takes place in a future in which humanity has colonized the solar system and a cold war threatens the balance of power. The heroes at the center unwind a conspiracy theory that changes the course of human history. (Source: Polygon)

I believe that what makes The Expanse so great is the balance between the science and the persons. As N. Shankar said in an interview for Art Technica: “That’s always the challenge, balancing multiple storylines, balancing the weight of personal, emotional character stuff with the gigantic geopolitical [elements], the big, beautiful space battles, all of the scope and spectacle. This is always the conversation in our writers room when we come into any season on the show. If we’re doing it right, it does have that balance between the personal and the epic.”

We’ve finally watched the 5th season of The Expanse and I can safely say that this show is not only my favorite Sci-Fi TV shows (just after Star Trek), but also one of my favorite show ever.

The 5th season sees many developments and I enjoyed them all: Marco Inaros’ multiple plots, Amos and Peaches’ hike through the snow, Avasarala’s new rise, Bobby and Alex adventure aboard the Razorback,… Many storylines that each bring their own thing to a fantastic bigger picture.

Jeff Bezos did one of the only good things I’ve ever seen a billionaire do by swooping in to save the show after it was cancelled on Syfy as it was a personal favorite of his. Unfortunately, despite what the authors say, the 6th season may very well be the end. Which means that not all the content of the novels will have been covered by the show. As a fan, I can only wish for more but, sometimes, it’s good when a great show reaches a good place before ending.

By the way, if you click on the image at the top of the post, you’ll be able to download this awesome wallpaper in many resolutions from the website theexpanselives.com.

Happy Birthday, Lara Croft!

To celebrate Lara Croft’s 25th anniversary, I replayed Tomb Raider (2013). I think that of all the solo games I’ve ever played, Tomb Raider games are among my favorites. I remember when I was still living at my parent’s home, playing my very first Tomb Raider game during Christmas Holidays… It was 1996 and I was 22 years old. 25 years have passed and the adventurer with the British accent still gives me as much fun as back then.

There are several things that really make it amazing. First, the character is great: a young English girl with a past filled with secrets that she discovers through her adventures… Second, I love exploration and Tomb Raider has plenty. Third, I love to collect all the relics and to complete all the challenges. I’ve just completed Tomb Raider with a 100% completion and it feels fantastic.

The end of the year is coming and I have a ton of games to play, but I’ll probably make some time later this winter to complete again Rise and Shadow.

Anyway, Thank you, Lara, for 25 years of explorations, collections and impossible jumps. To 25 more!

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

This years’ Halloween headliner was The Conjuring 3. I don’t know if it’s because they start the movie with “based on a true story” and the fact that The Warrens are real, but The Conjuring series are damn frightening! Every time I’ve watched one of these movies, I’m terrified at night, afraid to go to the bathroom and stumble upon something horrific. Of course that never happens, but the movie leaves you with that feeling and that’s exactly why it deserves a 5 star rating.

The duo Patrick Wilson (Ed Warren) and Vera Farmiga (Lorraine Warren) is amazing, they have this chemistry going on that make them the perfect casting. The real Lorraine Warren was a head consultant on all of the Conjuring projects and was an avid follower of the series, she died a natural death a few years ago (age 92). 

During the closing credits, you can hear a news interview with the real Ed & Lorraine Warren from during the trial, along with photos of scenes from the movie and dialog from an audio recording of David Glatzel’s exorcism. This made it even more eerie, and makes me wonder what parts of the movie really happened or is it entirely fiction?

Also, an honourable mention to the Master Satanist, Eugenie Bondurant, her creepy performance is the highlight of the film. I’m surprised that we don’t see her more often in the horror industry.

I know that I keep repeating it a lot, but The Conjuring 3 was scary as hell, perfect for our 2021 Halloween Night. Let’s hope that there are many more to come so our Halloween Eves keep being perfectly frightening as it should be.

Halloween Kills

Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without Michael Myers’ annual killing spree. We usually watch the original while eating our pumpkin oven pasta, but this year we were in for a treat with the new and gory Halloween Kills.

The opening few minutes were awesome, it had the great vibe of the original and looked very promising. It’s always great to see Jamie Lee Curtis again. Too bad they decided to throw in a never-ending scene with a lynch mob yelling “evil dies tonight” resulting in the suicide of an innocent man. I could have lived without that scene, it was chaotic and way too long to be good. The death count throughout the entire movie was huge though and some of the kills were rather creative and gory, the right recipe for a good slasher. 

I’ve read somewhere that the firefighters appearing in the opening scene are the actual firefighters from Cannon Air Force Base Fire Department. From firefighter to movie star, they must have had a lot of fun shooting this scene.

Maybe the movie wasn’t a milestone in the horror cinema, but it was perfect for setting this years Halloween vibe.

On imdB, they published the following in trivia: Halloween (2018) was released 40 years after Halloween (1978). Halloween Kills (2021) was released 40 years after Halloween II (1981). Halloween Ends (2022) is set to be released 40 years after Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982). This means that next year the 13th Halloween movie will be released. Hopefully it’ll come out before October 31st.

Meanwhile, Happy Halloween!

More posts