Can't Stop the Movies - No One Can Stop The Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
19Oct/170

Changing Reels Episode 29 – Under the Shadow

Living in post-revolutionary Tehran in the 1980s has not been easy for Shideh. With her dreams of becoming a doctor fading away due to her political activism during the war, she spends most of her time taking care of her daughter Dorsa while her husband pursues his medical career on the front lines. As the dangers of missile strike inch closer to her home, Shideh’s sanity is tested when Dorsa starts claiming that there is a spirit lurking in their home. This week we turn up the chills with Babak Anvari’s Under the Shadow. We also discuss our short film picks of the week: Paul Trillo’s At the End of the Cul-de-Sac and Steve McCarthy O Negative.

If you like what you hear, or want to offer some constructive criticism, please take a moment to rate our show on iTunes! If you have a comment on this episode, or want to suggest a film for us to discuss, feel free to contact us via twitter (@ChangingReelsAC), follow us on Facebook and reach out to us by email (Changing.Reels.AC@gmail.com). You can also hear our show on SoundCloud or Stitcher!

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18Oct/170

Patreon Post: 13 Reasons Why the Netflix series “Tape 3, Side A”

The fifth episode of 13 Reasons Why is less interesting visually than the previous, but excels at character analysis. Clay's plan to play "gotcha" on Courtney backfires and Courtney gets nuanced reasons for her sin against Hannah.

Mental health warning: this episode involves discussing my history with suicide, so please proceed with caution.

This podcast is only available for contributors to the Can't Stop the Movies Patreon.  You can reach the post by clicking the above image or this link.

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17Oct/170

It Comes at Night (2017)

A disease has spread across the world, leaving few survivors.  Those that remain cling to small superstitions in the hopes they might avoid the contagion.  A dwindling family, faced with the prospect of adding more to their home, questions what steps they need to take if they want to survive in this world.  Trey Edward Shults wrote the screenplay for and directs It Comes at Night, and stars Kelvin Harrison Jr., Joel Edgerton, and Carmen Ejogo.

I spent the first fifteen minutes of It Comes at Night wondering if film-makers have reached the breaking point of slow horror.  I'm thinking of films like The Lords of Salem, It Follows, The Witch, The Blackcoat's Daughter.  Films where molasses-slow camera movements pair up with ominous droning on the soundtrack and sparse dialogue explains little about the predicament of the plot.  It Comes at Night starts with a slow conversation with a dying man whose daughter has to speak through a gas mask and protective gear, then nudges the audience into the rhythm of life in this world one second at a time.

The turning point came not from Paul (Joel Edgerton), who rules the house with a cautious pragmatism and deep suspicion, or Sarah (Carmen Ejogo), who is better at thinking about the long-term consequences for their actions.  It comes from Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), caught in the middle of an argument between Paul and Sarah while not saying a word, and writer/director Trey Edward Shults does not shift the camera between Paul or Sarah.  Instead, when the camera starts to move toward Sarah, it stops on Travis.  We watch Travis, passive in action but deep in thought, listening as his parents argue, and gradually wondering what the point is in survival.

16Oct/170

The Boy Who Stole The Sun: Devlog #6

New features! Whenever I get a new piece of the game implemented with minimal fuss, I have to celebrate and thank the central processor. On this update: there is a functional health system! The flurry critters have the ability to dash at the player and take his health away on collision. And casual non-dashing bumps between the flurries and player result in freezing up the player's hearts. The flurry also now goes into its "hurt" animation whenever it collides with the player, regardless of whether it's from a dash or a casual bump.

A friend also recommended I put in a screen flash to indicate when a heart is totally frozen. So I whipped that up this morning and got it into a functional state. Most of these features are in a testing state, not the final version by any means. But sometimes you gotta load up on features just to make sure they work.

Flurries are meant to be a low-level, easy-to-avoid critter that will probably only freeze the player a bit, and not be able to damage health directly. It's actually totally confusing to have it be able to do different kinds of damage with the same general action. Screen flashes are currently set to cyan for regular hits, and white for when a heart gets completely frozen. I will probably take out the cyan flashes later, but it's helpful to have things happen often when testing. And when you're coding solo, nobody can tell you not to make temporary features.

Hearts currently take 4 hits to deplete them, and 4 freezes to freeze them completely. And the player starts with 4 hearts, which means there's 16 total health points, and 16 temperature points. Remains to be seen whether all those values will be appropriately balanced.

Coming up next: Gotta get some particle effects in there for taking health damage. I think I'll probably do general impact effect for general hits, and a blood effect for when a heart is totally depleted. I want to be able to toss flurries into the water and freeze that square into ice. The game already tracks the drop-position in front of the player to make sure you can't drop something out of bounds. I can use that position to check the tile beneath and see if it's marked as a water tile. If so, I can do a freezing animation on it and re-build some data. In theory, this will allow for delightful puzzle solving and navigation options. I just have to make sure to constrain the possibilities such that the player doesn't have enough resources to build an bridge right off the edge of the map. Not sure if this'll be in the next update, but I may need to introduce the first tool to this game, and the give the player more than just bare hands to pick things up and mess around.

In the mean time, enjoy a little gameplay-in-progress video! Thanks for reading (and watching).


15Oct/170

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

After society nearly collapsed following the great blackout, an entrepreneur refines the previously outlawed process of creating human slaves known as replicants.  The older models are hunted down by newer replicants given the title "blade runner" and created to obey orders.  K, one of these new blade runners, stumbles onto a mystery that throws his existence into question and suggests the replicants are more than their masters envision.  Denis Villeneuve directs Blade Runner 2049, with the screenplay written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, and stars Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Ana de Armas, and Sylvia Hoeks.

And how came Jesus into the world?
Through God who created him and the woman who bore him.
Man, where was your part?
-Sojourner Truth-

Sleep hasn't been easy after watching Blade Runner 2049.  My mental film reel keeps going back to the "birth" of a new replicant under the watchful eye of Niander Wallace (Jared Leto.)  That might seem a tasteless turn of phrase on my part as Wallace is blind.  But he leans his neck to his custom-made assistant, Luv (Sylvia Hoeks), to attach a chip that allows him sight.  Nearly a dozen black phallic cylinders, previously haunting the corridor, begin circling the terrified woman whose introduction to this world was a five foot drop from a sac of fluid into a hostile environment.  Wallace tenderly caresses the replicant before slicing her abdomen open and leaving the remains for someone else to clean up.

Denis Villeneuve's latest turn as director has few scenes as directly menacing as the slaughter of that replicant, but barely a moment went by without my emotions playing chicken with my mind trying to process what I was seeing.  Blade Runner 2049 is the logical cinematic end-point for what feminist scholar bell hooks calls, "imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy."  It is a whole, with no separation, as each part plays its role in the subjugation and destruction of the world.  We don't need to look further than Wallace's commodification of black penises, in our world where black sexuality is often weaponized, as the ultimate signifier for a system of oppression as he nakedly sizes up the flesh of a woman for slaughter using sexuality he has no claim to.