Friday, August 26, 2016

MadCap's Game Reviews - "No Man's Sky"

Am I as upset as everyone else seems to be about this? Well...

No Man's Sky is now available from Hello Games, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and iam8bit for Playstation 4 and PC.

For the latest from the MadCapMunchkin, be sure to follow him on Twitter @MadCapMunchkin.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

From MadCap's Couch - "Sliders: Last Days"

"Nobody tosses a physics professor!"
...yeah, I'm not exactly sure how I missed this one. I blame Dinkleberg.

Yes, I know when I last left this little retrospective, I had finished up Season Two with the full intention to jump right into Season Three...but it appears that we must travel back along the timestream to an early point - a much earlier one, in fact. Back to Season One we go, when the show was still pure and innocent and, to be honest, extremely hit and miss.

...but then, that's Sliders in a nutshell, isn't it?

We begin with the Sliders Four falling from a vortex onto a street. They find it abandoned, with only a car that's run right into a fire hydrant as any evidence that people have been around at all. Heading into town, they find the cops running about calling for people to get off the streets as well as apples apparently being sold for an insane amount of inflation. It's chaotic, with alarms going off and people trudging about with reckless abandon. Taken in by an electronics salesman after he tells off a meter maid, they take a seat once more at the TV of Exposition and learn the terrible truth.


Yeah, just kidding. It's the end of the world via meteor. Because Armageddon...was still another three years from coming out.  (Suck on that, Abrams!)  They learn that the meteor will be there in two days, and the Sliders are unfortunately there for seventy hours and some change, making their position very uncomfortable indeed.

...I mean, unless they were to just make a blind jump, being that they are no closer to getting home than they were in the beginning and it really wouldn't hurt them...but that would make too much sense.
"Shut up about the meteor! I'm catching up on Thrones..."
Anyway, getting back to the plot, Remmy begins a tirade on Quinn for getting them into this mess (remember, we're still in the Season 1 "Everybody Hates Quinn" phase). He goes off on his own to mull over things, the group deciding to meet back there the day of the meteor strike (hopefully with a solution). While Arturo suggests they try to help the scientists of this world, Quinn ends up (with his mentor's blessing) going with Wade to check on their families. Arturo, meanwhile, goes to do the most logical thing and check the internet!

A press conference does further plot dumping...and then Conrad Bennish runs in screaming about nuclear weapons, which gets Arturo's attention and they chat.  Apparently on this world, the atom bomb was never created because scientists such as Einstein and Oppenheimer said that was not enough uranium in the world to build a successful bomb. Bennish, however, claims that the original bombs were misaligned. Arturo starts helping him out.

We return to Remmy, who has taken to a church and chats with a pastor. Who gives some kind words.

Back with Arturo and Bennish, Bennish apparently has gotten not only plans but has examined the actual prototype for the original atomic bomb - Fat Man. With this in mind, Arturo conscripts Bennish with a plan for saving the world using a series of drills and timed detonations on the surface of the asteroid that will...

...oh, wait, I already did the Armageddon joke. Crap!

MadCap Crossed the Streams: 5

But yes, from the look of it, Arturo and Bennish are going to set us up the bomb.

MadCap Crossed the Streams: 6


After the commercial, we're back with Remmy in a scene from The Warriors. Actually, he meets up with some yuppies and decides to party with them because good decision making skills.

Then we finally catch up with Wade and Rembrandt, who are using a key under the mat to enter Quinn's house on this world (which is totally not breaking and entering, because they left a key). With a picture on the fridge they confirm that Quinn does exist in this world and start checking the basement for any Sliding equipment. They find some, with Wade theorizing that the Mallorys here must have slid to avoid the asteroid and Quinn saying that its "their only chance".
About to drop a mixtape so hot, they'll have to measure it in Kelvin...
Back with the plot, Arturo and Bennish examine the Fat Man.  Arturo questions whether or not they have the right to use the bomb, but Bennish rightly points out that if they don't, there's not going to be a world left, so they have no real choice. They technobabble their way to getting to whether they can set us up the bomb.

We cut back to Remmy, who has made his way to the party and meets...Vash from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Huh.

They dance. NEXT SCENE!

Quinn and Wade are fiddling with the Sliding equipment and Quinn has been working eight hours straight...somehow.  From some tapes, we learn that this world's Quinn was big on dinosaurs and wanted to develop time travel. Depressing irony, huh?

Though Quinn is optimistic about getting them home, Wade is not sharing in the good vibes. Apparently, with only sixteen hours (again, how?!) left before the meteor hits, she wants to talk about their feelings. Quinn asks for a half hour to work on things, during which he does indeed get the devices working...but blows the power before he can make any real progress, even charging the circuit breaker enough that it actually bursts into flame!

Quinn is completely wrecked by this, having worked so hard on it, but Wade just embraces him and tells him that they'll be okay.  The next morning, however, Quinn's bad mood hasn't abated. Wade, however, continues to comfort him. She points out that she did volunteer to come on the first sliding trip and assures him that she has no regrets and all that schmaltzy jibberjabber that actually makes for a very good scene between the two.

Conversely, we have a scene of Arturo nearly killing Bennish over a boombox and finishing up the calculations for the detonation. They also take a moment to discuss the pros and cons of nuclear power, seeing as it will be the first time that this Earth has ever had the option. Bennish makes a rather meglomanical comment about no one saying 'no' to them, seeing as they have the atom bomb.  The music swells worryingly and...Arturo decides to look over the plans last minute while Bennish hits the head, taking one of the schematics and hiding it away.
"If you request 'Everybody Wang Chung Tonight' one more time, I will cut you..."
Remmy sings "Can't Help Myself" from that band that his band was totally not a parody of. And then gets caught up in a game of Russian Roulette, which he puts an end to and leaves with Vash.

Back at Casa de Mallory, Quinn and Wade twiddle their thumbs and build on that romance subplot that David Peckinpah is going to come in and shit all over. They have an almost kiss, some talk over a candlelight dinner, a dance to some porn music and then actual kissing. And one might call me just a Quinn and Wade shipper, but it's really done believable and they do both seem like they're trying to say everything they've wanted to to one another since the beginning, considering that they're both going to die within a few hours for all they know.

...and then Arturo comes in to cockblock in a major way. Douche!
About. Damn. Time!
But he does catch them up on the plot while eating their dinner,  In this time, also, Arturo has...somehow arranged for the bomb to be placed on a missile that's going to be shot at the asteroid. Damn! We must be in the last ten minutes of the episode! Already?

With four hours to impact, they roll up to the "Federal Space Agency" with a full police escort and arrive just in time to see the meteor come into visual range...

The TV of Exposition explains that Arturo apparently got together with a scientist who was heckling Bennish before who has it in good with NASA and so everything comes together with only sixteen minutes to go. As they discuss Arturo stealing the schematic to keep Einstein's secret safe (and out of Bennish's hands), Wade brings up that its well past time and Remmy hasn't shown up.

The Crying Man is back at the church from earlier with Vash, working a soup line for the homeless. He thanks the Pastor before sharing a goodbye with Vash and slipping away to meet up with the others. And arrive he does just as the final launch sequence is beginning. With less than a minute to go, they catch him up on the plot. They go outside to watch the impact of the bomb, Quinn and Wade holding hands as they prepare for either their salvation or damnation...and the bomb works.

Yeah, we've gone through to the end of Season 2, you know that they survive. Don't even act shocked.

Of course, now, the people of San Francisco on this world will die horribly over the next few months from the radioactive fallout of the bomb. Yay, Science!

Many joys are had and...the schematic for the bomb falls out of Arturo's pocket and is stealthily picked up by Bennish...

But yes, the sun once more rises on the world and all is well. Vash and the Pastor feed the homeless, Bennish gets the credit for saving the world, and the Sliders are preparing to slide when Arturo realizes the schematics he took are missing...but, they must slide on.

Bennish, meanwhile, plots from his evil lair about his use of the atom bomb...leaving the fate of this world forever in question.

This is a great episode, and I'm actually really glad I went back to watch it. Sure, the plot is a little silly but is clearly well-thought out. Arturo giving the questionings of morality as he has in other episodes is as sublime as ever. Quinn and Wade got some excellent moments to build up on their relationship. Some good moments. Short, but definitely very good and it becomes a shame that a lot of the things built up here are going to be wasted as we get into later seasons.

What doesn't really work in this episode is the pacing...and I know I've said before that critiquing the pacing in a Sliders episode is a fool's errand, but it really is. Sixteen hours pass out of nowhere with no clear sign that time has passed. Another thing that doesn't really work is Remmy's subplot. Unlike in certain other episodes - Summer of Love comes to mind - it didn't really do anything to further Remmy's character or tell us something new about him. He just decides to go party with a bunch of yuppies at some producer's house and then decides to leave when things get too real.

But, overall, this episode was great. Definitely one of the stronger ones in the first season, which is something that I won't turn my nose up at considering the quality of several Season One episodes.

Next time, we get into Season Three...and let me tell you,'s all downhill from here...

Sliders and all related characters and concepts are the property of universal.

For the latest from the MadCapMunchkin, be sure to follow him on Twitter @MadCapMunchkin.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

MadCap At The Movies - "Suicide Squad"

Stop the presses! Stop the presses! Stop the presses!

Let me tell you, my friends, the critics don't know jack!

...except me. I'm a critic, and I know jack, and this is an awesome movie! I know, I know, I'm a self-professed Marvel fanboy and I railed against both this given its trailer content and the most recent cinematic abortion that Zack Snyder still suffers in the Phantom Zone for. But all my fears have been put to rest.

I feared that Will Smith would be underused and otherwise made out to be the "old guy" in the group.

He wasn't and he was phenomenal.

I feared that Margot Robbie wouldn't use Harley's traditional accent and would be nothing more than glorified eye candy.

She did and she wasn't. She was both sexy and funny as all get out.

And, I feared most of all...Jared Leto as the Joker.

He was excellent and didn't steal the spotlight as I feared he would, as he did in Batman: Assault on Arkham.

Now, the only problem with this film doesn't really leave much to the other characters. Because, despite this being a team movie, they really aren't the focus.  I still have no idea (or inclination to go find out) who Rick Flag (Joel Kinnamen) is.  In fact, the only character I really care all that much to find out more about is El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), because he does get a good amount of focus in the film.

Not to say the other characters are bad, and everyone does get their moment in the sun - much like in Guardians of the Galaxy - but the main focus here is very much on Deadshot, Harley, and the Joker. And that's not a bad thing per se.

Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is very excellent in her role as a cold, ruthless government employee who puts together the team for the good ol' Red, White, and Blue (and her own agenda, of course). While it is sad that we're not getting the iconic voice of the character, CCH Pounder from Justice League Unlimited and other DC animated productions, Davis does do an excellent job and is a worthy successor to the role. I look forward to seeing her in the future.

In fact, I'd like to see more of all of this all over the DC Expanded Universe. This is the humor and joy that was missing from Batman vs. Superman. It was clear that not only was some real talent behind this, but they really cared about something other than exercising their fetish for hating buildings and destroying buildings. There is real character here, a real reason to get invested and care about this bunch of cutthroats, lunatics, and psychopaths.

I've seen this film, among other things, being accused of being a Marvel rip-off. Yes. Actually being good and successful are things that DC should be ripping off with its films. And, to its credit, the film revels in that fact. One of the major themes is owning what you are, and the film most certainly does that as do its characters within the narrative...but that's getting into spoilers.

Basically, go and see this movie! Have a popcorn, get an ICEE, sit back and ignore the critics.

Because they don't know jack.

...except me, I'm a critic, and I know jack. And this movie is really, really, really good!

Suicide Squad is now in theaters from DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures.

For the latest from the MadCapMunchkin, be sure to follow him on Twitter @MadCapMunchkin.

Friday, August 5, 2016

MadCap's Game Reviews - "Fallout 4: Vault-Tec Workshop"

Now in video form, because we know that nobody reads anything anyway. In fact, I bet you're not even reading this now, are you? ARE YOU?

No, of course you aren't.

Fallout 4's Vault-Tec Workshop DLC is now available from Bethesda across multiple platforms.

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