What I'm Watching: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Two dead bodies are found in a house, burned, tortured, and mutilated, with a pretty, overly clean female body in the basement. A father and son coroner team try to autopsy the girl and get interrupted.

It starts as a medical mystery, then it's a jump-scare haunted house story, then there's a very improbable explanation, and a neatly tied up Twilight Zone ending.

I do like that they don't go full-on Night of the Living Dead or Ju-On. There's something specific going on and it's consistent. But the explanation doesn't match historical events, and the Bible quote isn't right.

Nothing spectacular, but a good enough indie horror flick.


Nintendo Direct: Animal Crossing New Horizons

More Over…watch? Smash. Poke-Man. Don't care. I'm mildly amused that they make a big deal of cooking curry on rice in Poke-Man. I'm not sure what that has to do with cockfighting.

"Dragon Quest XI S Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition" might be the most Microsofty videogame name ever made. Shame on you, Squenix & Nintendo. But it looks pretty.

SNES retro console is pretty great. But we do already have emulators and old ROMS on pirated sites. Some new cheaty features like making Super Ghouls & Ghosts playable instead of a bitter lesson in frustration and failure, knowing that you will never be good enough to see the end of it, are really not appropriate. And they only work while you have a subscription, so when Nintendo shuts that service down in a couple years, your emulator games go away with it. The SNES controller is awesome… but can't be used as a Joy Con, so it's unusable with other games.

More Tetris 99, "daily missions" gamification. Yeah, great, I've already played Puzzle & Dragons.

Mario & Sanic Summer Olympics! Just in time for winter. I do like these kind of games.

Doom 64, Jedi Knights II, Witcher 3, etc. because everyone's porting every old game to Switch.

Grid Autosports is promising. Farming Simulator! That actually makes some sense on a portable console. Xenoblade Chronicles remaster next year.

Animal Crossing New Horizons: 3.20.2020

I must say, I don't like the metaphor of phone as UI to everything. AC is more of an old-timey setting, it should just have a book for tutorial.

The bug & fish catching seems deep like the console games. Not much detail shown here, like everything in this long pre-release struggle.

Maybe too much emphasis on multiplayer? I don't want people on my island, only animals.

Still, I'm waiting for AC:NH to get a Switch. I miss my Pocket Camp a bit, but then I see reddit or other videos mention how grindy it's got, and I'm glad I quit.

What I'm Watching: Hell or High Water

A nice little modern western/crime drama. Reminds me of Longmire and Justified, but mostly from the criminal's point of view.

A couple brothers rob banks in Texas, or rather branches of one bank, not doing anything stupid, nobody gets shot, at least that's the plan. Two Rangers, an old honky about to retire and his Comanche partner, go out looking for them.

The banks are the enemy of country folk, and the brothers have a reasonable grudge and the smart one has a plan. But everyone in Texas has a gun, and the Rangers aren't that stupid.

Too sad and doomed to be Coen Brothers. Might watch some more of David MacKenzie's movies. Also nice to see Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges playing out of stereotype.


What I'm Watching: Dark Crystal (2019)

So, I love the original movie; I loved Jim Henson's work, maybe Labyrinth more than Dark Crystal but they're both amazing. The Mystic/Skeksis split, dying races of Gelflings and Podlings, weird monsters, nothing is stationary or normal, Froud's fairy paintings brought to fuzzy life, it's all lovely. I've read a little of the fanfic/expanded universe stuff but not much.

This story is mediocre prequel fanfic with good production values, but not up to the level of the movie.

In this, there's only blatantly evil Skeksis rulers, guarded by Gelflings and served by Podlings, both so stupid they don't see the gloating, scheming, whinging, and stealing of their masters. The Skeksis are as nasty as in the movie, but somehow made a cult where they're all-powerful, all-giving, but that's so transparently false it's just nonsense. This show would've made far more sense if they were still the Ur-race at the start, and the events of this, the corruption of the Crystal to drain life, is what makes them split.

The Gelflings are all ruled by queens and princesses, but still seem to put males in charge of everything else. They can use telepathy/"dreamfast" which is mostly shitty CGI blur effects, much like Avatar, except when the plot requires they be too obstinate or stupid to verify facts with each other. Females in this can actually fly; Kira in the movie just glided. There are seven clans, but only 5 are relevant to the plot so far: rich bossy Vapra, swamp rednecks Drenchin, warrior Stonewood, gypsy trader Sifa (very racist Roma caricature), underground Grottan.

The Podlings are either grovelling servants, or really stupid sub-Humans (somewhere between filthy hobbits and how Eastern Europeans are portrayed in fantasy).

A Fizzgig creature is immediately met when the underground heroine reaches ground. It has legs and a weird gaping non-muppety mouth. We see a bunch of these during the series, they're semi-tamed?

The Spitter is not quite a Garthim. And mostly it's really shitty CGI.

Aughra knows too much and is too stable to be the weirdo of the movie. She didn't make her own orrery in this, it's a "gift" from the Skeksis. And then implausibly she goes for a walk, crosses way too much of the world in an episode, and spends a lot of time doing nothing. The Mystic we finally meet is useless, and does not talk like a Mystic.

The land seen in CGI scenes is very Earth-like, if a bit more spiky mountains. There's a lot of shitty CGI lens flares, glowy things, and purple crystal screen filters, like the Abrams Trek movie but with more realistic characters than his muppet Kirk.

The puppets look good, but many are emotionally blank most of the time. The females especially can't flex their faces much at all, so they seem to be dead-eyed staring into the void for long stretches. The walking scenes are very badly done, like everyone from the Muppet Show and Jim Henson are long gone.

The fight scenes with Gelflings look awful because they can't actually hold blades, and can't be shown being struck. Even Hup, the stupid Podling wannabe-Paladin with his wooden spoon, is more menacing than the Gelflings.

There's at least 4 parties and it takes until E04 before any of them meet up, and they immediately split again, slowing the plot down. Rian is a lame protagonist, veering from braggart to coward as the scene demands, never being worth your time. Deet and Hup are pretty good, I like them even if they're incompetent. The princess is just annoying and gets everything handed to her. The hunter party have no characterization, they're just felt bodies.

★★★½☆ — And this is being generous. I really want this to be better than it is. It's very pretty when the lens flares aren't in the way. But the basic competence isn't there.

Harry Potter Contains Actual Curses and Spells, Says Local Idiot

"These books present magic as both good and evil,
which is not true, but in fact a clever deception.
The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells;
which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits
into the presence of the person reading the text"
—Dan Reehil, soi-disant "reverend"

This is a thing an adult Human, supposedly in charge of "educating" children, wrote in the 21st Century. This person actually believes that magic and evil spirits exist, that a series of children's books actually let you violate physics and produce effects with no cause by waving around a stick and saying some Latin doggerel. Which is at least consistent if stupid, since Catholic doctrine is that saying Latin doggerel over wheat crackers and wine turns them into manflesh and blood. If his lunatic premise was correct, we would be in the middle of a magical apocalypse the likes of which the Book of Revelation would say is "too much, man". Any child in this idiot's care is being misinformed and mentally abused.

Stop treating this nonsense as if it's a valid opinion. End religion. Ban the Bible, or at least replace it with Asimov's Guide to the Bible. Read more fantasy novels with the understanding that they're fiction.