Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Critical Case Of Murder - Episode 1 - The Scissor Sister

So, even though I haven't had much time to post on this blog as much,. I've been routinely updating things on The Critical Android YouTube channel. 

Not long ago, I recorded a podcast episode about true crime as part of a series called: A Critical Case of Murder. I recorded it with my friend Teresa from Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, for some odd reason that I can't figure out, the episode isn't watchable on YouTube in Ireland.

This is frustrating for two reasons:

1) The guest of the episode can't listen to it in her own country
2) The murder case involved in the episode took place in Ireland. Kinda would be nice if the country involved in the case could hear it.

So, with those two things in mind, I've posted the video here to the blog so that people can actually listen to it. It's just a picture and audio; so you know, a podcast you don't have to actually "watch" to enjoy. Hopefully you'll enjoy it regardless though, it was a lot of fun recording it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Critical Quick Review - Zootopia

Film: Zootopia
Year: 2016
Starring: Voices of Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba
Directed by: Byron Howard & Rich Moore

Quick Plot: Ginnifer Goodwin plays the voice of young bunny, Judy Hopps. Judy is fearless, determined, and filled with a strong sense of justice. She dreams of becoming a police officer despite the fears of her parents and the fact that no rabbit has ever become an officer. Despite all this, she succeeds in becoming an officer in the famed city of Zootopia. Zootopia is a massive, environment spanning city where all animals live together in harmony despite the differences of the past where predators hunted prey. Judy is in for a rude awakening though when she finds out that not only is she looked down upon by her fellow officers, but is also quickly taken advantage of by con-artist fox, Nick Wilde, played by Jason Bateman. Nothing will deter Judy from achieving her dreams though, even if she has to put up with discrimination and Nick's antics to do it.

What Works: The voice acting - Most of the voice work is done by Goodwin and Bateman and both are phenomenal. Goodwin is effervescent, delightful, and upbeat without being sickeningly cheerful. Meanwhile, Bateman is just the right mix of charming, sly, and smarmy. Again, considering most of the voice work is done between these two, it's vitally important that they engage the audience; which they do.

The comedy - Zootopia, like most modern Disney films, is fun for kids and often hysterical for adults. There are a number of references from animal biology to Breaking Bad for adults to catch. It's not as consistently comical as say, some Pixar films, but it's still good for more than a few laughs.

The animation -  This should probably come as no surprise, but the computer animation on this film is spectacular. The faces of the characters are marvelously expressive and the fine details on the fur are exquisite.  One of the trailers for the film was noteworthy for showing sloths working at the DMV. The big punchline of the scene is reliant upon the facial expression of one of the characters; if not for how incredible the animation is, this joke wouldn't have landed so well.

The message - Zootopia is a film that's largely about discrimination. I'll avoid going into detail so as to prevent spoiling anything, but the predator prey relationship and the history of it is at play throughout the film. Given the racial climate in the United States in 2016, it's an incredibly timely message for people to have presented to them.

What Doesn't Work: The message - Despite it being a timely message, it is a little ham-fisted; that is to say that the writers tend to hit you over the head with it too much.

The plot - It's predictable. I figured out who the villain was pretty easily into the film, despite the film trying to surprise with it. Additionally there's a scene, part way through the film in which the characters reach a conclusion about the situation they're in that doesn't seem nearly as informed a judgment as they should be capable of.

Is It Worth Your Time: Yes. Whether you're teenager, adult with kids, or adult without kids, Zootopia is a great amount of fun. Also, if you happen to be a Shakira fan, or ardent fan of sloths, you're in for an extra special treat. Go enjoy it!

Critical Score: 8 out of 10

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Just A Quick Update

I'll make this fairly brief so as not to take up too much of your time:

You may have noticed a decrease in the frequency of posting lately: if so, good for you for paying attention and I for one, appreciate that dedication! There's a reason for why that's the case though.

Lately I've been very involved with a number of projects, some of which I can talk about, others that I can't. One that I can discuss and reiterate is my podcasts on The Critical Android YouTube channel.

Yeah, it doesn't have a flashy name in the link yet since I don't have enough subscribers at the moment, but there's new podcasts being uploaded all the time about a variety of subjects. They are specifically made to be listened to without having to watch the screen, so if you're in the middle of doing something and need some background noise, they're perfect for that.

Also, I'm not too great with the whole video editing thing for the most part, sooooooo until I really get that part down outside of recording game footage, this is what you'll get. But I'm also looking for topics that you want to hear about, so please take the time to suggest things!

I'm also working on a couple of novels that I'm plugging away at, which have also taken up a good chunk of time to write. As you can imagine, this can be quite time consuming, but I was advised once by a very talented and successful professional author and journalist, that one of the most important things a writer can do is finish what he writes. So it's with that in mind too that I keep trying to plug away at these larger projects.

My sincerest thanks to any of you reading this, and it would thrill me to no end if you could like, subscribe, and comment on my YouTube videos. Only if you honestly like them though. I don't want to cultivate a pack of subscribers who are just padding my numbers, I want to make a community for people to really engage each other on things they like. I want people to share ideas, opinions, likes and dislikes about everything from the common to niche interests.

Thank you again everyone, and please keep reading and listening!