Movie Review: Kubo and the Two Strings

imdb-kubo-and-the-two-strings“Kubo and the Two Strings” on IMDB

Fantasy/Adventure/Family, 91 Minutes, 2016

This is the fourth feature from the stop-motion geniuses at LAIKA. Following “Coraline” [IMDB] in 2009, the small studio has fallen into a comfortable two-year release schedule with “ParaNorman” [My Review at MoreBrains.com] in 2012 and “The Boxtrolls” [My Review] in 2014 and now this in 2016. Each and every film is a modern classic and “Kubo” is no different.

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Movie Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

imdb-miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-children“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” on IMDB

Fantasy/Adventure/Family, 127 Minutes, 2016

Ransom Riggs’ best-selling debut novel seems tailor made for Tim Burton’s [IMDB] off-kilter sensibilities. Most children are normal, some are odd, some are gifted and some very few are peculiar. Peculiar children might be as strong as a dozen men, be lighter than air or able to start fires with their hands. Such children are cared for by the Ymbrynes, magical women who create isolated loops in time to protect their wards.

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Movie Review: The Babadook

imdb-the-babadook“The Babadook” on IMDB

Horror, 93 Minutes, 2014

Some children – let’s face it – truly deserve to be devoured by whatever monsters can be coaxed under their beds. Samuel (Noah Wiseman [IMDB]) may be one of these. He drives his poor mother, Amelia (Essie Davis [IMDB]), to the brink with his paranoia and the contraptions he concocts to defend himself. Alone, and never truly recovered from the tragic death of her husband, his mother simply cannot cope.

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Indian Traffic is Amazing

I spent much of December in Southern India for business. I was awash in culture and history yet the most amazing thing I experienced the entire time was the traffic. It’s impossible to accurately describe the semi-organized mayhem, the constant multiaxial motion and the utter and complete lack of fucks-given. Here’s a 10 minute video that’s a pale, sad shadow of what I experienced:

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Dishonored 2: The Royal Conservatory No-kill Glitch

Still playing and, until now, thoroughly enjoying Dishonored 2. It may have been an error in judgement, but I decided to do my first play-through as a no-kill, no-spot, collect all the runes and bonecharms run. Unfortunately I, and many others, have hit something of a wall in Chapter 5: The Royal Conservatory.

[Minor Spoilers Ahead] The Conservatory has been overrun with witches. To beat the area without deaths, you must activate a machine that eliminates the witches powers. This can incorrectly result in some of the unconscious witches dying.

Apparently this can sometimes be rectified by determining exactly which witches won’t walk again and putting sleep darts in them before activating the device. Unfortunately this did not work for me as can be seen in the following video:

In my case, activating the machine results in four dead witches. After a significant, time-consuming search, I determined which four were dying and collected them in the burglars apartment. In my case this group included the two  would-be bushwhackers encountered outside of the Conservatory.

All four are resting comfortably on the floor and alive. Pull the switch and all four are dead. Reload and sleep dart the lot of them, then pull the switch. Now the statistics only show a single death, however examining the bodies directly show them all as dead.

Frustrating!

You can read more about this on this Steam Discussion. Harvey Smith of Arcane Studios has also acknowledged the bug in this Twitter thread. Here’s hoping for a quick and stable patch!

Dishonored 2: Easy “Heartbeat Reaper” Trophy

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Dishonored 2. I’ll likely be writing more about it at some point, but for now, here’s a brief word on one of the trophies, “Heartbeat Reaper”. This requires you to eliminate six enemies within 1.5 seconds. I’ve seen several methods for obtaining this – attracting crowds into grenades or leveraging the new Domino ability. The key that I feel some may have missed is that your victims don’t actually need to be conscious.

Yup, that’s it. Collect a pile of unconscious dinks and toss in a grenade; one and done.

Our First Ball of Picture!

Several years ago we supported an odd little Indiegogo project: the Panono 360° Camera. The group has worked doggedly since to produce the device and strengthen their company. It’s been a long, sometimes frustrating road, but the camera arrived today and some things are worth waiting for! Here’s our first shot:

No, the subject matter isn’t particularly impressive, but the technology definitely is. The camera, about the size of a softball, packs in 36 cameras for a total resolution of 108 megapixels. The images are uploaded to a cloud service where they’re stitched and made available for sharing.

Expect a full review soon! I’ll be visiting Southern India in December, I expect the unit to get quite a workout!

Extra Life 2016 Marathon: Wrap up!

Extra-Life LogoOur Extra-Life 2016 Marathon is over! All told, with various breaks for jobs, prior engagements and at least one scheduled SAT exam, we had involvement from nearly twenty people and raised $873.55 to help sick kids!

Although the marathon is over, you can still donate, if you like! Please click on a team member to do so!

This year was more subdued than previous years, yet still a blast.

We want to thank everybody that helped with this and hope to see them all next year!

Extra Life 2016 Marathon

Extra-Life LogoWe’re about four hours into our Extra-Life 2016 Marathon! There will be some drop-ins later, but we’ve squeezed 16 people into our home and raised over $800 so far!

You can still donate, if you like! Please click on a team member to do so! We’ve playing a lot of classic console games, portable games and board games. There was also an odd digression into completing somebody’s engineering homework…

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