All posts by davelangermprs

Arrival (2016) – A Review

“Why are they here?”

The Arrival stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forrest Whittaker, and is directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners and Sicaro). The screenplay was written by Heisserer and is based on the short story “Story of Your Life” written by Ted Chiang.


Amy Adams is a top linguist who is recruited by the military along with Jeremy Renner, a scientist, to assist in first contact with an alien species to help communicate when twelve Alien Shells drop down to earth on a number of what seems like random locations.


Don’t expect a popcorn alien invasion flick, it’s much smarter than that. The Arrival is more ‘Contact’ than ‘Independence Day’. It has a slow burn and is very meticulous. The movie stays focused so it’s never boring in it’s pacing, as it always held my interest. I loved seeing the break down in the alien symbols to figure out what they were saying. You really see how Adams and Renner’s logic works as they get closer and closer to cracking the code. The way they dissect the alien language to be able to communicate is very clever and quite ingenious, and something I have never seen before in any other movie.

The cinematography (Bradford Young) is beautifully shot and all looks very realistic, especially the aliens, I was glad they did not go with the typical humanoid looking alien. I like how they looked similar to an octopus and that was how they communicated with a black ink dye.


The main cast was great, I got totally invested in them and they had me hooked.  But the supporting cast was pretty one-dimensional and cookie cutter, but not enough to break my focus too badly. The Arrival could get Amy Adams an Oscar nomination, and even win, she is just that good


My only minor gripes are that the movie does end a little too abruptly, but a satisfying close.  It could have been a bit longer, 20 more minutes or so. Though anything left to be said can be done in a sequel.


Overall it’s one of the best alien invasion movies I have ever seen, easily in my top 3 and it’s one of the best movies of the year. I can’t recommend this movie enough.


The Accountant – A Review


The Accounant is Directed by Gavin O’Connor and stars Ben Affleck who plays Christian Wolff, an accountant and a math savant with autism and a Jason Bourne-like skill set who does accounting for the mob. After Anna Kendrick discovers someone skimming millions of dollars from a high-tech robotics company’s books, Wolff is hired to find the cause. The closer they get to discovering the truth; the ones responsible start being murder by the hitman Brax, played by Jon Bernthal.  The next target is Kendrick and Affleck.


It’s more of a drama than an action movie. The first 2/3 is a slow burn until the final act which is where most of the action takes place. It’s like a cross between the Bourne movies and ‘A Beautiful Mind’.  The movie does a great job showing Wolff’s autistic tendencies, explaining them in detail during flashbacks.  The flashbacks show how his military dad dealt with Wolff’s autism and how he gains the skills we see him use as an adult. It also does a great job showing the sense of humor Wolff has which gives us a few laugh out loud moments. The movie really draws you in and makes you care about the characters especially Wolff.


The only negative I would give the movie, since it’s on the long side, just over 2 hours, there is way too much backstory and exposition for J.K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson who are the agents trying to track down Wolff since he is tied to a number of different high profile mobs and also a huge shooting. They could have cut out at least 20 minutes of their back-stories and still given them 5 minutes to accomplish what they needed to. Watching their backstories bogs down the movie and takes you out of it somewhat.


Overall it’s a great movie and I would recommend seeing it. It’s not for everyone but the story is well written and you end up caring for the characters, which is, bottom line,  always what you want in a quality film. 8/10

No Man’s Sky – In Progress Review


No Man’s Sky: In Progress Review

– David ML

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Here is my review in progress after playing for about 2 weeks and over 60 hours.

First and Foremost, I’m really enjoying this game a lot! It’s an excellent example of a game that goes great lengths to make space exploration fun, with resource gathering which isn’t for everyone but if you like Minecraft or World of Warcraft then it shouldn’t bother you much in this game as it’s right in your wheelhouse.

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The elements of exploration, scanning, space travel, ect, gives you something beautiful to look at. Gorgeous Planets and Exotic Flora doesn’t make it as boring as watching people in videos play. The one thing that can get annoying is the sentinels on a lot of the planets will attack you after only mining a few resources which is kind of dumb. They should tone that down a bit. Maybe cap it at something like after 1000 of it then if you don’t stop until they go away they will attack or even 500. It’s a small nitpick, but it can be annoying.

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The art style is amazing if you are into this kind of style, even if you are not, looking into the sky at the other planets or moons is beautiful and posting some pics on facebook people are impressed by it and ask what is that. The art on the planets is very similar to The Witness which is also very pretty, it could be off putting or some that like more realistic graphics.

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Another slightly off-putting distraction is the dithering/pop in, there is a ton of it, especially if you are flying in the air. Not sure if its the PS4 not being powerful enough or just the procedural aspect of the game. Could be a little of booth, its a slight annoyance but most time if you are just walking around in the group its not that noticeable.

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I see some people complain about how you see similar looking plants and animals on different planets and even in different system, I am not sure why that is such a big deal since in real life that is how it would be anyways. You have to remember what shows up on these planets is procedural so its math based. So for example, you tend to see those tall mushrooms grow on different planets but just a different size or color. Well mushrooms are basically a fungus so they should show up on different planets if they have similar conditions to each other.

Even with animals lets say somewhere in our universe there was another planet almost like earth, one would thing that it would have similar life and plants like earth does.

The one nitpick I will say is sometimes what is on certain planets does not always make sense. Like if a planet if -100c, one would think there would not be much plant life but sometimes there is, but I guess you could just chalk that up to evolution and say those plants got a resistance to the cold.

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But at least for me visiting about 40 to 50 planets or moons so far, I have only seen a few animals that look similar to each other and those are usually on the same planet and always belong to the same species.

The little touches in the game are great though, like how if you are on a super cold planet, you will see ice on your visor start to form, and I love that and it was a nice surprise. Things like that are nice to see.

As for the storyline, the game does have a story, but its more looking for the lore, kind of like dark souls, where you could just play the game, kill all the bosses or in this case just jump from planet to planet and miss all the lore. You need to seek out the NPCs, or the monoliths, some have fun facts or puzzles or a choice of what to do.

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There is also something weird going on in some bases, which hopefully will pan out. Sean did say there are two endings so that is good. A lot of people complain about what happens when you get to the center of the galaxy, but those people have not really beaten the game. There are a lot of secrets to this game and a lot of the people who are speaking negativly about the story or “ending” are missing out on a lot. This game does not hold your hand nor does it spoon feed you information, it’s a puzzle and you need to figure it out. That is the huge part of this game that a lot of people are missing.

The only real issues which need to be patch ASAP is the sever always going down, which makes it a pain to upload your discoveries, I always wait until it’s in the green, so I know they are getting uploaded to the server. This has been fixed since release but it still does go down a few times while playing, but not as bad as before.

This could also be why those two players could not see each other because the servers were probably down. The best way to fix this would just be, if you are in someone’s solar system and someone else is there too, one of you invites them into their game server and then you see each other. Like an MMO instance basically or even dark souls when you invade someone or have them join your game. That should be super easy to implement, it could even happen automatically.

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The crashing has been mostly fixed with patches, that is the major issue this game has. Sean Murray said the latest patch will fix 90% of the crashes. I have not had a crash in about 3 days so that seems to be accurate.

The other issue is how dumb it was to not have a quit option on the menu, you have to basically force quit your game, which I am not sure why they did not have an easy quit feature. Seems like an odd omission.

There are a few other nitpicks like why no mini map for the planet you are on and why can’t you easily find the old planets you discovered and go right back to them. Those are things they can easily patch and need to be to be honest.

But all and all i really enjoy this game, its going to be polarizing for most like Minecraft where some love it or some hate it. But if you love space exploration IMO this game is a must buy.

After 60 hours so far id give it a 8.0 , it could go up if once they patch more things into it like Minecraft did or diablo III, the vanilla versions of those games were ok at best but now they are great. I am still finding all the secrets the game has to offer, like how to open portals.  That is probably the key to really finishing the game.

If they keep up with patches and keep adding newer and better things this game could be even better. It’s going to have its growing pains but even in its vanilla version, I am enjoying the hell out of it.