Time Lapse Movie Review

Time Lapse

I saw an awesome movie on Netflix called Time Lapse.

The movie was directed by Bradley D King and starred Matt O’Leary as Finn, Danielle Panabaker as Callie, and George Finn as Jasper.

Finn, Callie, and Jasper live at an apartment complex. Finn works maintenance for the apartments and moonlights as an art painter. Callie is Finn’s girlfriend and she assists with collecting rent and other random tasks. Jasper is their sketchy friend who gambles on dog races a lot.

Finn and Callie are called to check on Mr. Bezzerides who is late on his rent. Callie goes over and finds something strange.

The three of them investigate and find out that Mr. B has created a form of time travel.

A gigantic camera is set up at Mr. B’s house, bolted to the floor. The camera is aimed out Mr. B’s window at the living room window of the three friends.

Every day at 8PM the camera spits out a Polaroid, not of the current events in the apartment, but of what will be happening the next day at 8PM in the friends’ living room.

The group also discover that Mr. B is dead. His body is severely burned and slowly decomposing in his locked storage unit. Apparently Mr. Bezzerides was fated to die in one of the Polaroids. He attempted to alter his fate and died because he tried to change time. As Jasper says, “You don’t mess with Time.”

The group decides to cover up Mr. B’s death, claiming he is in the hospital to those who ask.

Jasper uses the camera in a fairly obvious way. 24 hours into the future he holds up a sign with a few winning dog races of the day on it at 8PM. The camera takes a picture and sends the information back in time. Jasper gets the info and then he knows which dogs to bet on. He bets on those dogs, wins a bunch of money, and then holds that sign up to the camera to ensure that he gets the information in the past.

Finn uses the camera to overcome his painter’s block. For weeks he’s been staring at a blank canvas, painting nothing. With the camera he can see the painting he does the next day. Knowing what he is going to paint he no longer experiences writer’s block (Yes, we’re dealing with the type of time travel that violates causality).

Callie doesn’t seem personally get much out of the camera, but she’s happy to have the money that Jasper is making and that Finn is completing his work.

The camera continues to violate causality by showing events that wouldn’t naturally occur. The three main characters feel they must faithfully reenact those events or they will suffer the same fate as Mr. B in his storage room. Conflict ensues as the next day’s events start getting weirder and weirder. I won’t spoil that part of the movie for those who are interested.

I loved Time Lapse. It has all the weird stuff I look for in a movie. It offers a lot of the same stuff that Memento, Sliding Doors, and About Time had. If you enjoyed those movies then you will probably like Time Lapse.

I should warn you that there’s a significant amount of gun violence in the movie and a little bit of sexual content. The violence was enough that my wife didn’t finish watching the movie. Personally, I felt that the conflicts escalated too quickly to a lethal level, but it didn’t significantly detract from the other excellent aspects of the movie.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend Time Lapse. Check it out on Netflix!

-GoCorral

Greshen Dale

Greshen Dale

Greshen Dale is the most magical city in all the land. The original city was underground to avoid the extreme temperatures that are the norm in the far north. However, a swarm of Bulettes came through the area destroying much and making too many unwanted tunnels. These extra tunnels collapsed most of the old city making it unlivable. A change had to be made, so the council of mages decided to create a flying fortress impregnable against any assault to house the population of Greshen Dale.

The plan for the new floating city was made by the powerful mage, Tentineh. He devised a method for harnessing the lava of a volcano to power the city. The annually active Dahak Volcano the previously loomed over the northern end of Greshen Valley was chosen to power the city. In addition to the lava power, Tentineh ripped magic from various endowed places and put it into the items that keep Greshen Dale afloat. This reaping of the land has created a few Spheres of Annihilation in Greshen Valley, but the citizens don’t really care. They are literally above that.

The Dahak Volcano was ripped from its natural place in the Terror Mountains and turned upside down to make a flat place to build upon. As all volcanoes in the Magical Lands are prisons for great and terrible monsters this act didn’t come without its consequences. The monster released from the volcano was the Dahak. He wants Zeus to have a son with Metis. Dahak’s repeated attempts to free Metis earned him the treatment reserved for the most terrible of monsters. Dahak did not kill his savior, Tentineh, in the typical evil monster way, but thanked him and summoned a group of Omnielementals to help with the construction of the floating Greshen Dale. It is rumored that Dahak now lives in the mountains slaying monsters and practicing his skills until he can challenge Zeus and free Metis.

A separate group of wizards in the old underground-based Greshen Dale attempted to rebuild the city above ground, but further south. The settlement flourished for a time, but the frequency of troll attacks in that area eventually led to the abandonment of what was dubbed New Greshen Dale.

The flying city constructed by Tentineh now looks like a three mile wide half-sphere of rock with four smaller half-spheres overlapping around it. Large holes in the center of each of these balls emit tremendous blue light that illuminates the entire valley underneath the city.

The top of the city has many pure white stone buildings with large, marble paved streets in between them. The avenues have grass and fruit trees growing in the middle of them. The buildings have a blue trim and are built in an Arabic style. Most food is magically created, but rather bland. Everyone has a garden to make the gruel from create food and water spells taste better. Some people use their gardens exclusively to make olive oil and wine which they sell to the rest of the city.

There is a labyrinth inside the volcano of the city where lava flows to power all the street lights, eradicate all the waste, power the magic that produces all the food and water, and project the forcefield around the city that prevents flying and teleporting intrusions. The artifacts, elementals, and other things that power the fortress are all guarded by golems other elemenetals. The five artifacts that power the blue lights keeping the city afloat are surrounded by a wall of force and are guarded by dragons.

Greshen Dale has a very static population of 20,000. The city has no more room to expand to include more population. Births and immigration have to be carefully controlled. This task is given to the Sky Patrol. The Sky Patrol prevents anyone from flying into the city and anyone who teleports into the city is redirected to the entry pad on the south side. People who can teleport in on their own or have been to the city legally before are allowed to stay with a tourist pass.

There is another way into the city without teleportation. Those who have legally been to the city before can use the teleport pad directly below Greshen Dale to ascend to the entry pad without expending a spell. Everyone can leave the city in the same manner.

This leaves out those who weren’t born in the city and those who can’t teleport on their own. Such people must traverse the caverns that were once the original city of Greshen Dale. The caverns contain many traps and minor constructs to challenge people. Within these winding passage ways are magical items that act as tourist passes and allow access to the city.

All the necessities in Greshen Dale are free. You need not pay for food, water, clothes, or a house. They are all provided by the magic of the city. Luxuries, magic items, and the right to see tourist attractions must still be paid for. Luxuries and attractions are at fairly steep prices as well for this is the only way to make a living in the city without using magic. Magic items are cheaper and the selection wider because Greshen Dale is where most of them are made and exported to other cities.

Greshen Dale is home to many schools of magic including the prestigious War Mage Academy. Entrants are mostly from the city itself, but some foreigners  pay large amounts of money to the city to get in without going through the trials or knowing how to teleport. Education must be paid for just like other expensive goods and services.

Greshen Dale is ruled by a council of mages. A councilor is allowed from each university and from each guild present in the city. They meet every two months to discuss the business of the city. Until recently the presiding councilor was traditionally not a mage, but a psion with the title, Cerebremancer. The last Cerebremancer was a dromite named Talon. The head of the War Mage Academy, a grey elf named Krodius, leads the Sky Patrol which enforces the decrees of the council.

The center of the city has a large plaza where many things are sold and magic tricks are preformed. In the exact center of the plaza is a large well that goes all the way through the volcano. The hole has rails preventing people from falling in. At the center of this hole is the Staff of Oblivion, an artifact known for its power against undead. Twelve bolts of lightning continually emanate and crackle from the staff and go to the sides of the hole. No one is sure why Tentineh placed it there, but most assume for defense or to have a piece of what keeps the fortress afloat visible to the public. The well is used to make offerings to the Dahak who is still a patron deity of the city.

During the First and Second Alliance Wars Greshen Dale has so far remained neutral. The Xorians offered citizenship to the people of Greshen Dale after the Battle of Phoenix in the Second Alliance War, but the council of mages declined in favor of continuing their neutrality. This declination also involved the signing of an official neutrality document. This document allowed free access to the city for Xoria’s Dragovinian population. The Dragovinians moved in, led by Lady Li of Colchis, and began converting the people of Greshen Dale to Dragovinysm.

Cerebramancer Talon, seeing that his people would inevitably decide to join the Xorians, attempted to stop them from joining with an evil power. Talon allied with Amalius, Torin, Tagenadi, and Eathirilu to secure the Red Orb of Dragonkind from the northwestern sphere of Greshen Dale. The sphere could float for a time on its own without the Orb. The Orb could then be used to dominate Lady Li and her followers and expel them from the city. Unfortunately, Amalius deviated from the plan by willfully destroying the Red Orb in order to free the captive red dragons, Invernix and Sartoria.

Talon’s involvement was quickly discovered. He fled into the lava tubes beneath the city with a few loyal followers. In his absence, Lady Li and the new Dragovinian Sky Patrol Leader, Krodius, rule the city. Talon and his followers fight a guerrilla war against the Dragovinians in the city, but it is only a matter of time before the city officially joins with the Xorian Empire.

-GoCorral

Warband Streaming

Steam had their usual Halloween sale and I snatched up a game I’d been watching for when it went on sale, Mount and Blade: Warband.

I wrote a review of the original Mount and Blade game back in March 2014. While my review was positive, I felt like after two playthroughs that I was done with the game and probably finished with any sequels as well.

To be fair those two playthroughs were massive in length and I didn’t want to get any sequels because I felt the gameplay wouldn’t be any different. Kind of like how I’ve only played the first two generations of the Pokemon games. I caught all 250 already, dammit! I don’t need anymore!

But eventually the call of a game I loved so much becomes too strong… My mind says, “You know you want it. And its on sale. Its only $10. You can get it.” And my mind forgets to mention that the real cost of a game for me isn’t the money, but the time I spend playing it instead of doing other things.

I usually play Mount and Blade when I’m by myself, so what other things could I do by myself that I’d be missing out on by not playing? I could read, watch something on Youtube or Netflix, draw, write something, stream a video game on Twitch-

Wait! What was that last one? I could stream a video game on Twitch you say?

Well, why not stream Mount and Blade?

I’ve been doing that and it’s tons of fun!

I’m exploring more of the mods for Warband. I’ve been learning more about tech trees and trading within the game. I’ve found other people who play it (Finally!). All around I’ve been having a blast replaying it. I even got my wife to play it for a minute which is a rare thing indeed.

I’ve been streaming in the morning on weekends and I plan to do a little more during the week as well. You can catch me at http://www.twitch.tv/gocorral

-Mister Ed

In Time Movie Review

I watched the movie In Time the other night. The movie stars Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, and Cillian Murphy.

I was not satisfied with the movie based on what I’d seen in the trailers.

The premise of the movie is that in the near future all medical problems have been eliminated.

Additionally, now that people are effectively immortal there isn’t really any reason to use any normal currency because eventually anybody will accumulate an infinite amount.

Instead of spending money, people spend time. Time is the remaining years, weeks, days, minutes, and seconds in someone’s life.

When someone turns twenty five their clock begins. You an see the clock on Timberlake’s arm in the above poster. When someone’s clock runs out that person suffers an instantly fatal heart attack.

The clock starts with a year on it. Time is spent on everything, coffee, taxi rides, movies. Everything.

And all income is in the form of time. If you work for a day at a factory then maybe you earn two days of time. One day to buy stuff with and one day to live with.

The movie villains are the rich who hoard time in order to live forever. The rich drive prices up in the ghetto to steal time from the poor because “not everyone can live forever.”

The movie heroes, Timberlake and Seyfried, fight back by stealing the hoarded time from rich banks where time is stored physically somehow and redistributing it to the poor. Surprisingly the movie never mentions the name of Robin Hood.

Giving time to the poor is somehow supposed to make them realize that the system is killing them, but the epilogue shows only that the poor are happy frivolously spending their money on vacations. The rich don’t lose power and the poor don’t gain any. What was the point if the poor waste their money on a week of pleasure?

There’s other problems with the currency system that are never explained.

Theoretically the only time that exists in the system is one year for each person when they turn 25. The average age would be around 25 because most of that time is spent on food, rent, clothes, etc.

Where is all the extra time coming from? Are there power plants that produce time? Or is the rich oligarchy just minting time and using it to pay their workers?

The rich are right in a sense. If everyone lived forever then the world would be overpopulated, but is the rich effectively murdering the poor really the plan that was landed on?

Why not use a traditional currency and set everyone’s clocks to one hundred years? Then people still have long lives with predictable deaths and the economy has a natural development instead of being controlled by some strange merchant dictatorship.

Plus, the script was clunky and the acting was bad. I’ve seen good acting from all these actors though, so I’m tempted to blame the director. The director, Andrew Niccol, also wrote the script, so really all the blame lies at his feet.

Niccol’s other movies are really good though. I’d recommend checking out Gattaca which has a similar premise and The Terminal.

As for In Time, it had a cool premise, but failed to make that premise compelling or interesting outside of the trailer. The other parts of the movie weren’t so hot either. I’d avoid it unless you’re dying for people to talk about wealth in amounts of years instead of thousands of dollars.

-Mister Ed

Mount and Blade

I play a lot of video games but I am often far behind the latest release. I didn’t finish playing Pokemon Gold until Pokemon Heart Gold came out. I’m still working on Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed too. I’ll probably never experience Mass Effect or Dragon Age: Origins.

Mount and Blade is one of the few games I started playing when it first came out. The game was created by a Turkish couple and once it became popular they created a video game studio around it called TaleWorlds. TaleWorlds has just announced that Mount and Blade will be coming out on the Nvidia Shield. I’ve never heard of the Shield, but the people at TaleWorlds are excited to branch out beyond the PC.

In Mount and Blade you take on the role of a warrior in a medieval world with a variety of warring factions. The game is entirely sandbox based. There is no plot to follow. You have to make up your own plot.

The first time I played the game I started a civil war in one of the five kingdoms and ended up on the victorious side. The second time I formed my own kingdom and conquered the world for myself.

The gameplay is what you’d expect for a third person shooter in medieval times. You get swords, armor, bows, and other equipment to do battle with. RPG elements are mixed in as well. Your character levels up and has a few skills that influence the setup of battles as well as your combat capabilities in each battle. The more battles you win the more gear and money you get, money of course being spent on more gear.

The name of the game is Mount and Blade, so there is a fair bit of horse-riding in the game. Cavalry are vastly superior to other units in open field combat. Mount and Blade is also one of the few games to make horse combat interesting. Mounted combat meshes seamlessly with foot combat. Your character rides his horse around, hitting people as he rides by. If you aren’t careful eventually your horse will be taken out. You can try to find another horse that has lost its rider or you can continue on foot.

Mount and Blade is also one of the few games I’ve seen that fits single combat with RTS style combat. The only character whose actions you control directly is your own, but your character can bring potentially hundreds of others to the battle with him. These soldiers are given orders through hotkeys or a menu during battle. The orders can include positions to take on the battlefield, which weapons to use, whether to mount horses or stay on foot, and how tactical formations such as a wedge or turtle shape.

The soldiers that you command in battle have a morale that is heavily influenced by what food you give them. The greater variety of food they have to eat, the better and longer they fight. I spent a fair amount of game time buying more and more food for my soldiers to eat because they kept eating everything up after each battle.

Your soldiers level up after a battle just like you do. They get better gear and stronger combat capabilities with each new level. A fully leveled army is necessary for one of the greatest challenges in the game, sieges.

Sieges are the final objective in Mount and Blade. Unless you actively avoid it, your character will eventually end up in a siege. Assaulting a castle has two basic methods, just like in real medieval wars. You can wait for the combatants to starve or you can attack them with siege engines and try to take over the castle by force. Using force is almost always the better option in Mount and Blade.

Siege engines are used to breach the walls of the castle in someway first. This can be a battering ram that breaks down the castle gate, ladders that scale the walls, or a siege tower that goes over the wall allowing access. Once inside the castle walls you have to eliminate the enemy presence before your troops run out. Then you break into the inner keep and take on the guard there to secure the castle as your prize.

Your character can also defend from sieges. The same rules apply. My favorite tactic was shooting arrows at the soldiers pushing the siege towers up to my walls to try and slow the advance of the behemoth siege engine.

Mount and Blade also has an intense mod community. There are hundreds of mods that add small new things to the game or completely change it. Different mods can change the game to new historical periods, or fantasy periods. You can play a jedi on a speeder instead of a knight on a horse if you want. Some mods introduce boats. Others let you play as if you’re a King’s Guard in Westeros if you like Game of Thrones. I tried out a few. One of my favorites advanced the timeline of the basic game to Renaissance era, allowing rudimentary firearms to be used in combat.

I played the original game out as much as I felt like playing. A sequel came out awhile back, but my impression of it was, “We added some good ideas that were already present in mods and added a multiplayer mode that Mister Ed won’t be using.” A new sequel is scheduled to come out soon though! I’ve been thinking of taking a look. Maybe I’ll see you in the multiplayer mode there if I decide to try it.

You can find Mount and Blade at TaleWorlds website or on Steam.

-Mister Ed