Welcome back interneters, how’s the net been? Good I hope, it can be weird out there. Well, I have entirely too much stuff to get through this week, so I’ll probably be picking and choosing from this weeks internal list, and shoving a lot of it off until another. First and foremost though, I have a little bit of somewhat breaking news, so let’s dive in.

Microsoft announced this past week that the one last problem that people were still complaining about with the Xbox One has been solved. “Chief Xbox One Architect” Marc Whitten spoke with IGN last week answering questions about the console when the topic of the Xbox Kinect came up. Whitten first spoke of all the interesting  and innovative interactions that the Kinect allowed you to have with the console, but went on to say that it in fact could be completely shut off, to where it would only be functional for IR blasting. Further, the console will still function if the Kinect were to be unplugged, except for any features that specifically require its use.
In essence, the Kinect is no longer required to be always on, you can now unplug it and the system won’t complain at you. The console will be sold with the Kinect as part of the included package, but no longer is it a required component for most core functionality. IGN’s original interview with Whitten can be found here.

While I’m on the subject, Whitten also announced late last month that every Xbox One will be able to be used as a development kit. Usually and classically, development kit consoles are only available to licensed game developers, but Microsoft has said that they want everyone to have that ability to create in their new environment.
Development functionality will not be a feature at launch, but will be added at a later date. Microsoft says that more details will be revealed at gamescom later this month.

At this point in the game, with all the concessions Microsoft has made to their fans and customers, it should be clear that they have their sights set on delivering the best product possible to their audience. They have listened to their feedback and adjusted the the product accordingly to how they feel that their community will best enjoy it. I’m really glad I’ve chosen to stick with Microsoft in this case, they’re continually showing me that they are not only committed to making the best product possible, but they are also listening to what their consumers have to say, and taking that feedback to heart.

Moving on, I’ve seen the next couple of films on my summer watch list, bringing me very close to the end, so let’s go ahead and get those out of the way.

Elysium
Elysium-Poster-003

Science fiction writers have the unique ability to give us a vision of what the Earth of the future could be like, so why is it that so many see the planet in ruins or complete upheaval?
Neil Blomkamp gives us a vision of the world where in the future, almost everyone has become the slums. If you’re making any kind of a living at all, it’s as some sort of slave to the people of Elysium. Matt Damon, when given his own expiration dates, reluctantly steps up to become our hero.
Like some sort of sci-fi Jesus Christ, Matt Damon has risen to cleanse us of our disease and our sins. Yea, I just went there. I saw a lot of religious allegory in this movie, and probably let a lot of that implication weigh on my rating of the film. I saw the Halo/Citadel like ring world(Elysium) as a metaphor for heaven turned hell, with everyone living there in their lavish ignorance of the poverty on Earth. I also saw Sharlto Copley‘s character as an inverted archangel, like an evil Michael or Gabriel. Maybe Jodie Foster could then be Lucifer could then be trying to gain control over the mantle of Heaven.
I’m probably the only one that has read in all the religious implications into the movie, but I couldn’t get it out of my head the whole time. Blomkamp’s view of the battle for heaven…I don’t know, my imagine was working on overdrive in this flick.
The visuals were amazing, and looked completely believable. It had the same aesthetic quality that you’d expect from a Blomkamp film after seeing District 9. Everything from VFX down to the lighting felt completely natural.
The acting was great, nobody under or over performed. Jodie Foster was a perfect asshole, and I mean that as a compliment. I rarely see her play a villainous role, and she executed it so well. I haven’t seen Sharlto Copley play a villain either, and wouldn’t have thought that he had it in him, but he was so fabulously creepy, and sinister. Come to find he can wear it like a glove. I wanna see Matt Damon do evil. I wonder if he could handle it. As a good guy, he usually seems pretty…well, vanilla. If there was anything weak about this movie, and I’m shocking myself saying this, but it was him. He just felt like he was such a bland hero. Then again, if you ever were going to make a sci-fi Jesus, you really wouldn’t want to give him any kind of an ego, would you?
Elysium – 8 out of 10

Kick-Ass 2
2013_kick_ass_2-wide

Is it still too soon to say that Chloë Grace Moretz is hot? Still 16? Well, crap.
This is the sequel we have been waiting for. I said in my writeup earlier this summer about how everything just worked so perfectly for the original; the casting, the acting, the story, the visuals…everything. I was worried that with Jeff Wadlow as the new writer/director, that the sequel would fall well short of the original. Nope…just as before, this film hit on all cylinders, everything just worked here; the casting, the acting, the story, the visuals…everything. Almost all of the original cast returned. The only change I could find was Todd, the third member of Dave’s group of friends.
Everyone was kind of wondering how Jim Carrey‘s role of Colonel Stars and Stripes would turn out, and I’m glad to say that he fit it just perfectly. Now, I haven’t read the original Kick-Ass comics, so I don’t know how well the role correlates to the original, but he just fit. Christopher Mintz-Plasse apprising the new role of The Mother Fucker, incredible. It was hard to imagine how, after they set up Chris D’Amico in the first movie, he could truly rise as some sort of badass, but they did, and like everything else, it just worked so perfectly. It also felt weird to imagine that even though Aaron Taylor-Johnson‘s role as Kick-Ass, despite getting his act together and saving the day in first film, could still be anything more than the wannabe nerdy hero in the follow up. They somehow though turned him into a muscled down badass with actually fighting ability…that still retained the lovable nerdy awkwardness that defined his role. I mean, everything just worked, I don’t know if I can say that enough.
At one point in the film, I thought they might have slipped up with the story a little, when they started getting into Hit Girl’s journey through high school, and learning how to act more like a girl. I started to sigh when they started with that plot line, but Jesus does it pay off.
What is one thing that you would love to see in a [super]hero movie? A battle royale between a giant group of heroes and villains, right? Well, not to give anything away, but that’s the climax right there. Everything comes to a head with a gigantic showdown between the forces of good and evil. I was literally gripping my seat. I even started cheering in one notable scene.
This film could have fallen so completely and horribly flat, and at the same time so much potential for this film to soar in every way possible. It is so gratifying to see a film live up to its potential, and shatter all your expectations.
Kick-Ass 2 – 10 out of 10

We’ve just about gotten through my Summer Watch List at this point, with only “The World’s End“, which comes out on Friday. Given that, I’ll probably have a review for it next week. I missed a couple of movies, but I still got around to most of them. Something I wanna try to do for next week, it addition to “The World’s End” review, is try to put together a Fall Watch List because…why not. I’m torn as to whether or not I want to identify my favorite movie for the season, or just wait until the end of the year, and do like an award show for it or something. I think that’s what I may do…yea, keep an eye out for that in December.

At some point after I did my first Nerds of the Future segment, I started wondering about designing the perfect car…designing the car of the future. And then I remembered, I’m not an engineer, I should stop that line of thinking right there. I can’t design the perfect vehicle…hell, I can barely even draw. It takes days of effect to even sketch up a simple floor plan. There are a lot of other people out there though that that have designed a lot of really cool vehicles that give us visions of the future. I began wondering, if I could choose any vehicle from any work of fiction, what would it be? Here are a few of the options that I came up with.

The Normandy SR-2 (Mass Effect 3)
Normandy_SR2_Alliance_Livery

Enough room for your friends, family, and a full set of crew members. Faster than light speeds, radar/ladar cloaking, terrestrial descent capability…full kitchen, bar, med bay, and communications suites. She ain’t the fastest ship in the galaxy, but she’ll get you there in style. Oh, and it also comes with a fully functional A.I., EDI

EDI-2.0-After-Taking-Over-Dr.-Eva-Cores-Body2

There’s truly not much she can’t do…I did say fully functional.

Serenity (Firefly and Serenity)
Serenity ship

She may not be the most elegant ship out there, but she’s made with love, and that makes her a home. Serenity has a lot of hidden nooks and crannies, which makes her idea for smuggling. She’s got two shuttles for running errands or reconnaissance, a roomy cargo bay, and lots of common space, but then again, so does the Normandy. The Serenity though is geared for running with a smaller crew than the Normandy is; probably 5 or 6 people could suffice. She doesn’t have the same kind of offensive and defensive capabilities that warships do, but with the right man at the helm, she can dance like a leaf on the wind.

The Flutter (Mega Man Legends 1 and 2)
Flutter_1442900

This is more of a nostalgia choice, as she isn’t that reliable, and she spends most of her time being broken down. She was a very clean running green ship though, running on refractor shards. It’s surprisingly roomy, given its’ appearance from the outside. Despite it only being 60 feet long by 60 feet tall, it still has 3 bedrooms, a bridge, engine room, r&d area, a cargo hold, a kitchen, and a common area. It’s not capable of space flight, but it’s gotten every job done so far, and even saved the day on a few occasions. Minimal crew required, you can probably get by with 3 or 4.

Millenium Falcon (Star Wars Episodes IV V and VI)
millenium-falcon

She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts. Here’s another one that can be operated with a minimal crew, but this one was actually built with offense and defense in mind. She has top and bottom situated laser gunner mounts, concussion missles, and directable deflector shields. The captain boasts that she can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, but that’s more of a function of the navigation computer than the hyperdrive. Bunk space is limited, she can sleep 7, but they’re pretty small bunks. Small galley, small common area, large cargo bay. She’s here to do the job…not much else. But she’s definitely the best ship for the job.

Maybe you’re in the market for something smaller though, something a little bit more personal, we’ve got a few options for that too.

The Warthog (Halo Series)
Halo4Warthog

Seating for 3, off road capability, 4 wheel steering, M41 anti-materiel gun, wench, easily flip-able. Extremely fuel efficient, and the chain gun has a seemingly limitless supply of ammunition. The only issue with it that I can see is that you need a friend to operate M41.

Tachikoma (Ghost in the Shell Manga/Anime)
motoko-kusanagi-tachikoma-ghost-in-the-shell-1440x900-hd-wallpaper

Your very own A.I. loaded multi-legged tank. It can fire guns, drive at highway speeds, climb buildings, cloak itself to become invisible, and be your friend if you know what fuel to feed it. Plus, it can do all that with or without you in the cockpit. Don’t be surprised though if it spies on you from time to time, they’re very eager to learn.

Still too big? How about this…

The Iron Man high-tech prosthesis (Iron Man comics/cartoons/movies)
ZTT12IronMan01

Single occupancy, form fitting, flight capable, and more firepower than half of the above options. Comes with a very friendly British virtual operating system named Jarvis, who could run this suit himself if he had to, but knows that you probably got into the driver’s seat for a reason. Depending on the model, it might require a little finesse to remove the suit.

I realize, looking up at this list, that it is highly autobiographical. As always, I’m sure there are a crap load of things that I missed. What are the vehicles that you’re yelling that I overlooked? Drop me a comment and let me know what I left out.

Ugh, this is why I usually don’t say what I’m going to do for the next week. Stuff comes up, and I end up spending half of the post talking Xbox One and movie reviews. I’m not making any promises for next week, but you can probably expect a review of “The World’s End”, a Fall List of Movies, maybe another Nerds of the Future installment, and…I don’t know what else.

Oh, before I go, TWC and CBS are still at each others’ throats. One development is that lawsuits have been filed against TWC by its’ own customers, for breach of contract and such. They’ll break, trust me…they’ll break.

Alright guys, see ya back here next week for…stuff.

Keep your heads up, your minds sharp, and your hearts open.

– CVSleen

Omelet Sandwich on a Blueberry Bagel

Omelet Sandwich on a Blueberry Bagel

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