Wondering what to do with your upcoming free time? Good thing we have some suggestions for what you should be watching, playing, reading, listening to, etc.
Ben’s Movie Pick: The Exorcism of Emily Rose – The Exorcism of Emily Rose is not only a legitimately terrifying experience, but it’s the only demonic possession film that gives The Exorcist a run for its money. The 2005 feature’s atmosphere is unnerving, even in its calmer moments, and there are barely a handful of other movies that can match the feelings of dread and fear it evokes in its more intense scenes. The cast is great as well, and the score is downright haunting. Even though you know from the beginning how Emily’s story ends, you’re completely enveloped in it. It’s a heart wrenching tragedy, a compelling courtroom drama, and a masterfully made possession film all rolled into one outstanding package. In my opinion, this is one of the most underrated movies in all of horror cinema. This isn’t the first time I’ve expressed my adoration for The Exorcism of Emily Rose in written format, and I doubt it’ll be the last.
Ben’s Movie Pick: Redline – I bet you could show any anime aficionado yet to see Redline any scene from it and tell them it was an upcoming movie and they wouldn’t question you. Hell, I’d be amazed if you couldn’t do the same five years from now. This outstandingly over-the-top racing film came out over a decade ago now, and it still looks better than any of the anime I’ve seen since. The film was developed by Madhouse (one of the most beloved anime studios out there) over the course of seven years, and the result is the most visually impressive animated film I’ve ever seen. In addition to the jaw-dropping animation, Redline has pitch perfect (dubbed) voice acting, a soundtrack that absolutely slaps, and outrageous designs for its characters, cars – if you can even call all of the racing vehicles cars – and settings. It’s style over substance, sure, but who could possibly care when it’s this mind-bendingly cool?
Lauren’s TV Pick: Harley Quinn – As far as I’m concerned, every good Harley Quinn story starts with the Joker getting kicked to the piss drenched curb. With some help from her flora wielding best friend Poison Ivy (you know, just two gals being pals), Harley quickly realizes she is worth far more than the manipulative toxicity she lost her independence to thanks to the Joker, and from there she sets out to prove herself to be another heavy hitter at the top of the villainous hierarchy of Gotham. Is she still a bit preoccupied about proving her villainy to her ex, along with the rest of the boys club that is the Legion of Doom, when all she really has to do is prove it to herself? Sure. But baby steps are still steps. And helping her take those steps along with her BFF are a rather theatrical, all about embodying the character Clayface, an unimposing King Shark with hidden depths both terrifying and musical (there may be a whole song about pooping in the ocean), the extremely misogynistic Doctor Psycho, and a landlord who is trying to relive his glory days. The insane cast list is enough to give this show a go, but the comedic tone that reimagines / investigates / caricaturizes the denizens of Gotham is what truly makes the show shine, from the bullied Bane, to the burnt out Jim Gordon, to the gung ho Robin.
Lauren’s Video Game Pick: Batman: The Enemy Within – Feeling the need to further explore the violent streets of Gotham thanks to Harley Quinn, I finally got around to finishing one of the many Telltale games I inevitably never stuck with thanks to the episodic release schedule (sorry, but this structure just doesn’t work for someone with my lack of memory retention). But first a replay of Telltale Batman, a game that I quickly discovered is now practically unplayable thanks to the countless bugs (including Jim Gordon’s cigarette smoke rendering incorrectly, missing audio, out of focus scenes, characters missing half of their head or their entire body, the camera being inside Bruce Wayne’s skull, the codex not updating on the batcomputer, etc.). Talk about OOF. Good news is Batman: The Enemy Within is not marred by these same issues. Even better news is what remains is another interesting exploration of Batman’s role in a city that is constantly escalating in its levels of corruption, cruelty, and bloodshed as he manipulates and uses his relationship with the inevitable clown prince of crime to try and stop a collection of big bads at the behest of Amanda Waller. Things get very grey as Bruce Wayne / Batman tries to navigate the shaky ground of the ends justifying the means, raising the often asked question as to whether or not Batman is the solution to Gotham’s darkest side, or if he is the catalyst that inspires the worst in others. (Fair warning, I personally found one of the two very different versions of Episode 5 to be a much stronger and fitting end to this story and its characters, so I highly recommend playing both.)
Ben’s Video Game Pick: Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade & Intermission – Final Fantasy VII Remake was both one of my favorite games of last year and the previous console generation, so it’s no wonder I’m a fan of the PS5 update. The visuals are improved on Sony’s latest hardware with resolution and performance modes that make what was already one of the best-looking games I’ve played even more gorgeous. Plus, new copies of Intergrade give you access to Intermission, an original side-story starring a optional party member from the original game, the materia-obsessed ninja Yuffie, as she tries to steal the “ultimate power” from the morally-bankrupt Shinra corporation. Intermission is a fun couple of extra chapters with interesting combat and traversal mechanics that utilize Yuffie’s ninjutsu training, includes a mini game from the 1997 classic, and also takes some surprising liberties with the lore of FFVII to set up a few exciting story beats that will hopefully be covered in Remake Part II. If you enjoyed Final Fantasy VII Remake, you’re bound to enjoy Intergrade and Intermission as well.
Lauren’s Video Game Pick: Mass Effect Legendary Edition – As someone who tends to gravitate towards experiencing new media over revisiting old favorites as my piles of untouched films and games continue to grow and grow, it’s been a good decade since the last time I traveled the expanded skies via mass relay as Commander Shepard in one of my all time favorite game series on the Citadel, Mass Effect, and all I can say is Enkindler damn it’s good to be back. The Mako inspires just as much love and hate as ever as she finds new ways to make me curse the planetary exploration of the fist game, but everything else is as phenomenal as I remember (besides Ashley. Cuz damn, was she always this racist? And people are still choosing her over Kaidan?… Eesh…). Nostalgia glasses or not, there is no denying that the combat, worldbuilding, characters, and storytelling are some of the best out there in video games as they evolve and grow throughout the series, and it’s a real shame that so much of it has been overshadowed by people bitching about the ending of ME3 and Andromeda disappointing / underperforming (which I’m thinking I’ll finally go back to and finish now that I’m pretty sure the whole dead eyed character thing has been fixed). Seriously, ME2 may still be my favorite, but honestly? ME3 is still so, so good as it brings so many arcs to an end with laughter, tears, and so many epic moments in the fight against overwhelming odds and the threat of galactic level extinction. Oh, and don’t forget the dancing. Long live the legend of Shepard’s dancing.
So what do you think about these picks? What content did we miss over the past two weeks while we were spending time with these? Be sure to leave a comment below letting us know about everything (both current and simply new to you) you’ve been consuming lately!
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