This is one of those movies that I first discovered in the video store. It had that intriguing cover and an interesting story. But despite all that I kept getting other movies but it was always on my hit list. So when I got my first free month of netflix I managed to find it and voila, it was time to see this movie and boy was I glad I ever did.
The Innkeepers follows Claire and Luke as they spend the final few days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn before it closes. They not only work they but are also trying to investigate the potential haunting by a famous spirit named Madeline O’Malley. All they need is that one big break for them to prove her ghosts existence. The concept is typical for a ghost story but with the small town feel and charm of the building, it really works.
The pace of the movie is slow as you begin to learn more about the building and Madeline but there is always something going on so you never feel like the movie drags. What helps is that both Luke and Claire are very witty and enjoyable characters. You really feel like you could hang out with them. They are very down to earth with no extraordinary quirks and I think that works for them and the movie as you don’t have to digest some complex character along with the story. You really are here for the enjoyment of the movie. There are a few other characters but they have their purpose and like Luke and Claire have nothing that takes your attention away from what is happening.
As things begin to develop you do encounter some scares but nothing truly gory or grotesque. The scariness is purely atmospheric and the ghosts you see are nothing to cringe at. Everything is done is such a way that it makes this movie extremely accessible for those who don”t want to be grossed out. This is very rare nowadays where shock value seems to always be a priority.
The Innkeepers is one of those movies that I believe will stand the test of time. It doesn’t try to shock people and it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. It just tells a damn good story that you can munch on your popcorn to. I highly recommend that you rent this on any given day and give it a whirl. You will not be disappointed.
When I heard they were making a new Evil Dead I was both excited and worried. For one Evil Dead a beloved cult classic while on the other it is a remake per se and you know how they can go right. Well this seem’s to fall in a grey space for me so let’s get right to it.
For one this new Evil Dead is grittier in that it takes itself somewhat seriously this time around and starts the movie off with a plot. A group of young adults head to this cabin in the woods where they attempt to help their friend Mia (and one of the character’s sister) in detoxing from her drug use over the course of a weekend. Now we already know that there was some freaky things that happened at this cabin via a flashback so it’s only a matter of time before things get out of hand.
In fact it takes almost no time at all for things to start going down the drain for these people. Mia is seemingly possessed after one of the friends reads from the necronomicon found in the basement and inadvertently summons this malevolent demon / spirit. From that point on there is the typical body count and craziness one would expect.
There are plenty of homages to the previous Evil Dead that you will be wondering if they are trying to freshen things up or are we simply watching a retread. Again depending on your taste it can go either way. I would go so far however as to say that it was too much retread. Rather then making the reboot their own thing they kept trying to use what we already have seen before and the movie comes off as being incredibly lazy.
The acting started off pretty good as well with everyone playing their designated roles and the prospect of the brother-sister relationship rebuilding between Mia and David had plenty of potential. But once the gore fest commenced this took an almost amusing backseat because she was possessed throughout the whole movie. Everyone else who seemed interesting initially were just fodder for the meat grinder.
And while the tone at the beginning of the movie is serious and the acting being quite decent we are torn away part way through the movie with ridiculous dialogue from the possessed friends as they each have their moment under the spotlight. It’s like they tried to inject campy dialogue from the original during these supposedly scary moments. Yes, let’s have the demon / spirit / possessed person yell “cunt” in various phrases. Oh the horror! When that moment hit, Evil Dead lost all credibility it had going for it. It’s ok to use expletives and other foul language in a horror movie. Hell it is expected but the dialogue was sophomoric. Maybe I expect better from demons / spirits.
This Evil Dead embraces gore and gives people a sight that is rarely seen. At times it was outlandish with how far it was going. But if you’re a fan of that type of gorefest then you will be more than happy with what this movie has to offer. At times even I had to admire the sheer amounts of fake blood used.
Evil Dead is an interesting beast. I think they had the intention of doing something new to freshen up the franchise and reboot it yet they missed their opportunity rather spectacularly and made a remake that brought nothing new to the table except current special effects and cinematography. I will admit the trailer had me fooled. I expected a somewhat serious take on the movie and doing something new. It is not the worst movie I have seen and I would go so far to say to at least rent it on a cheap night but I almost wish this had never been made.
If you have any fascination with the spiritual world and probably even if you didn’t the name Ed & Lorraine Warren have certainly been heard. They are renowned investigators of the paranormal and demonic with many high profile cases such as the Amityville Horror. Now whether you believe any of their work or not is up to you but we have a treatment of one of their cases in the form of The Conjuring.
The Conjuring stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as Lorraine and Ed Warren as they are called in to help a family who has suddenly be plagued with not only odd occurrences in their home but the onset of being terrorized by the supernatural.
James Wan who directed this movie has taken it upon himself to treat the subject with a lot of respect. Often we see “based on” movies that go out of their way to hollywood everything to a point where you couldn’t believe what you are watching. James Wan however takes a more subtle approach in The Conjuring. If you were to imagine an escalating haunting then you could totally believe the events in the movie and that is what makes it so scary.
The movie is also not just about the haunting that took place but also the people involved. Performances are top-notch and you in turn feel a connection with all who are involved which is also difficult when presenting a movie like that. Often times one element is sacrificed for another whether deliberate or not but in this movie that fine balance is made.
In terms of atmosphere The Conjuring has you on your toes with all it’s subtleties. I would even say that it is a treat to watch in how well done it is. The tension in the theatre was thick and just about everyone jumped at one point or another. It was good to see a movie have an audience entranced like that.
Also if you are a fan of the Warrens and have read their books or perhaps just read online about their cases then this movie will also please you in the reference to the Annabelle case. I won’t go into description of the case itself as you can quickly google it but having read a book on their cases as well as online information I was left grinning ear to ear on it’s brief inclusion. Oh and don’t forget to look out for Lorraine Warren herself who cameo’s in the movie.
The Conjuring is a movie that you should definitely go a see. If you’re looking for something to renew your faith that a good haunting movie can be made then you will be vindicated. This movie was a labor of love and it comes across as such. It will please both newcomers and also fans of the Warrens with references and actual pictures at the end. I cannot recommend this movie enough and do hope to see movie case files handled with such a treatment.
Nestled in Québec is a gem of an RPG store called Donjon. I have ventured here on two different outings now and every time I come back a happy camper. It’s not unlike other stores and I have to be honest here in that the selection is not in a wide range. While other gaming stores will carry everything they can, Donjon seems to be more focused on Wizards of the Coast, Paizo and Fantasy Flight Games. More specifically though some D&D books in general, Pathfinder, Dark Heresy and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition.
The biggest draw in my eyes is their used books collection. Used is how I shop. When you have a family, a house, etc then you pretty much thrive on these types of sales to satiate your needs. And Donjon does this quite well and this is where their stock offers a variety. From D&D (all editions) to Spycraft, from Star Wars (West End Games) to World of Darkness (both versions). You can pretty much find something if your willing to dig.
Donjon is an odd one in how they price. Often times you will nail them on a price discrepancy in their used section. In one area a book used is $20 in another it is $5. No real quality difference to warrant that price point but you obviously go for the cheaper. In face they usually have two filing boxes that they load with clearance items. This is where they best items can be purchased. Prices on older to newer books can be 50% – 90% off. They just want it gone. Being in Québec this also could be a simple language issue where core customers are french by nature and thus target that specific type of book instead. This would make offloading overhead stock that just won’t sell much easier. Who knows if this is the reason but hell, I’ll take it!
Donjon also specializes in Warhammer miniatures sporting a nice wall of both Fantasy and 40k. Accessories are also very much present for the hobby. Pretty much if you need it, they will probably have it.
And we cannot afford to forget either that Donjon also offers a wide variety of Magic: The Gathering related items and runs events to boot.
It’s funny how in general great gaming stores tend to be nestled in odd places. Donjon is no exception located in the basement level of a mall at the far end of a hall with it’s only indicator being a Magic: The Gathering cardboard cutout. So if your in Québec City and looking to satiate your gaming needs then head on over to Donjon where the staff if not only nice but you are sure to walk out with some gaming goodies.
320 St-Joseph E,Quebec City, QC
When it comes to horror movies a cover can trigger my excitement for a movie. I know they can be misleading as the common term for books is “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” and the same can be said for movies however this one just caught my attention as did the synopsis blurb.
The movie follows four teens as they travel to a cottage for a getaway which happens to be near a monastery as well as an old tree with a frightening legend to it. Apparently people have a tendency to commit suicide by hanging themselves via the tree.
Hollow is another in the found footage genre but that is not necessarily a bad thing. When it comes to these types of movies I don’t jump on the “not another one of these” bandwagons but rather I pretend no other found footage films have been made. This let’s me judge it in a fresh light. The use of the genre in this particular movie is okay. Obviously there are bits and pieces that you need to fill in the blanks as they use the method as a way to create atmosphere. However what creates the most atmosphere is the english countryside in which they are located. From the ruins of the monastery to the tree itself. It is pretty freaking creepy.
With that being said though you never feel fulfilled though. When things start building up it almost seem’s to be done too quickly. The mythology of the hollow tree itself could have been something much more but it never seem’s to attain it’s full potential. In the end you do end up feeling hollow which is somewhat ironic.
The characters themselves just seem your typical adolescent self involved jerks. Obviously they try to slip in a nude scene with the found footage method and there is a drug induced scene which brings nothing to the table.
Hollow is a movie that when your done watching could have been something so much more but there is still something to be found it it that is still entertaining. It may not pay off as a movie that will make it on your shelves permanently but it is something you should go out and rent when you have the chance when you are just looking for something different.
Tuesday Bruce Cordell announced that he is leaving Wizards of the Course after 18 years! Wow! Suffice it to say people have already started speculating like usual about the reasons for his departure but let’s be honest here. He worked at Wizards for 18 years which is an achievement in itself and I think he probably has other projects he would like to focus on.
Either way, congrats to Bruce Cordell on making a big change and we wish him the best of luck. I cannot personally wait to see what he has coming for us next.
This is an interesting little article about the 7 things that D&D can teach you about storytelling. Even outside of just being a storyteller, the list is very useful for understanding what makes a good game or character.
1: Characters are more interesting when they’re flawed.
Like most D&D nerds, I cheated when I started playing. I fudged rolls. I had a character with three stats at 18 (the maximum), which I later calculated had a roughly 1 in 40,000 chance of happening without the aforementioned cheating. When I bought a character generator for my computer, though, I “accidentally” made a character named Crystal.
Crystal was in most ways an unexceptional person: a bit charming and graceful in her way, but frail, less than bright, and lacking in common sense. Rather than following any traditional path, Crystal was a fighter wielding a quarterstaff—a fundamental tactical mistake, especially given that this was back in the days of 2nd-edition D&D (THAC0 for the win).
I loved playing that character. Part of it was the challenge, part of it was a protective feeling for my own frail character, but the major draw was something more significant. I came to realize: The best heroic journey is not the story of an incredible person doing incredible things. It is the story of a flawed, ordinary person who—when called upon—rises to an incredible challenge and finds within themselves something truly extraordinary.
Read the rest here.
So for all you Dungeons & Dragons fans out there you probably caught wind of the whole hoopla concerning the cosmology. They decided to bring back the great wheel with some modifications here and there. I don’t see this as a bad thing honestly however I have some reservations against it as well.
I grew up with the great wheel concept as I have played mostly in second edition. Planescape was around and I have to be honest that it is one of the best settings that is probably misunderstood and under rated. Planescape helped make a center point for campaigning in the multiverse. It unified most settings by providing that focal point however it fleshed out so many details about the plains themselves and how they worked not to mention subjects like religion and death..
A common complaint people have is they want their own cosmology and that’s ok. I think the point is generally missed in that D&D is your game. You can make it however you want and it’s totally cool. You can even equally pretend planescape just never existed in which case you go by your setting like before. Either way a few settings just didn’t meld in very well anyways such as Ravenloft and Dark Sun. One had the dark powers which prevented travel and the other was in a crystal sphere.
Really what is the big deal right? My problem though is settings like Eberron and Nentir Vale that was conceived with it’s own cosmology in mind. It’s assumed now they will share this new standard cosmology for the sake of conformity. I get D&D Next is supposed to be super inclusive however I think shoe horning other settings to conform is not the best way to approach this. I don’t get why a setting can be conceived and not have it’s own cosmology seperate from the others. I can see the arguements for it but I can see also why creatively that sucks.
If D&D Next is as modular as expected we probably don’t even need to worry. Actually we shouldn’t even be worrying because like any RPG out there and since the dawn of the industry, if you don’t like it then feel free to change it to what works best with you. As for me I cannot wait go go hopping around the multiverse and please let there be a resurgence of the factions. They were so freaking cool!!
Congratulations to Chaosium on their Call of Cthulhu 7th Ed Kickstarter. It raised a monstrous sum of $561,836. It’s good to see such support for a great system and setting. With this new found resurgence I do hope we see some epic sourcebooks and adventures to go along with all this.
Well I have been waiting for this one for eons. Finally the 7th edition of Call of Cthulhu is coming. I like some of the concepts I am hearing such as removing opposed rolls table and making to more streamlined. Also some rules will be optional plug-ins. In all a very streamlined game which to me is good. The stretch goals are kind of sparse. I am not sure if they were expecting not as much support as they thought they would be already the first of three is achieved. Myself I am looking at the $170 which includes a keepers book plus investigator books for your friends.
Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Kickstarter