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: Pandorum – As a huge fan of the Dead Space video game franchise, Pandorum gets a lot of points for being what is likely the closest we’ll ever get to a feature length, live-action adaptation of the series. It has an eerie, sinister atmosphere that’s similar to the aforementioned horror video games, follows a protagonist who also aims to fix a broken spacecraft while evading its monstrous inhabitants, and there’s even the threat of the crew possibly losing their minds as well. Dead Space similarities aside, Pandorum‘s small cast of survivors is solid, the creature design is terrifically terrifying, the score is appropriately creepy, and while the setting is reminiscent of other iconic derelict spacecrafts, it’s unique enough to stand out among them. The only issue I have with the movie is that a specific part of the final act doesn’t work as well as it could (or should) have. Other than that, it’s an entertaining, frightening sci-fi horror adventure.
Lauren’s TV Pick: Sex Education – I’ll admit that initially I wrote Netflix’s Sex Education off because I figured maybe I’d aged out of watching shows about people half my age going at it all the time. But thanks to the recent recommendations from friends and a few people I follow on Twitter, I now know that I was completely, and unfairly, oversimplifying this coming of age, high school dramedy that has so much more to offer than just horny teens as it balances out some of the most humorous, lovable, and well-developed characters with a multitude of topics: from simply and unashamedly understanding our bodies and the spectrum of sexuality (the show has one of the best scenes about asexuality I’ve ever seen), to self-acceptance, to abortion (with an episode that handles the topic perfectly and without judgment), to dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault, to pervasively subtle and/or more blatant acts of homophobia and transphobia. Each topic is handled with such care and honesty, making this a show I wish I’d had when I was the age of the high school characters. Hell, I truly appreciate what this show has to say as a 33 year old woman.
Ben’s Video Game Pick: Journey – Two console generations after its initial release, I finally played (and loved) the award-winning indie darling that is Journey. The game uses visual storytelling and a fun platformer playstyle to keep you engaged in its short “campaign” as you make your way across vast, open landscapes with the goal of reaching the top of a mountain far in the distance. You aren’t alone for most of it though: the game pairs you with other players (without presenting their gamertags), giving you no way of communicating other than a chiming noise. That lack of any written messaging or voice chat means you have to really prioritize working together in order to follow the long “road” ahead of you, and I found the unique camaraderie built between my voiceless friend to be surprisingly effective, especially in the game’s final moments. All in all, this blurb is just me saying “yep, everyone else who was raving about this game years ago was right” yet again.
Lauren’s Video Game Pick: Life Is Strange – Between this and Sex Education, apparently a common theme for me putting things off lately is “ugh teens.” This time around, what I oversimplified as a game about depressed teens structurally comparable to the episodic Telltale releases is so much more than that, and so much trippier and more fucked up than I expected. Yes there are some extremely depressed teens grappling with bullies and suicidal ideation, but this drama pulls from a wide range of unexpected genres, like science fiction, mystery, and horror. It gets major points deducted for the repeated use of the word “hella” (not even Ashly Burch being the one saying it can make it cool), but that hardly puts a negative dent in this creative and heartbreaking story focused on choice, the manipulation of time (I have no idea how I went 6 years not knowing one of the main game mechanics from the very start of the game is rewinding time), and the lengths we will go to to protect those we love. Seriously, if you want a good cry, play Life is Strange.
Ben’s Video Game Pick: Terminator: Resistance Enhanced – This PC and Playstation 5 game is a decent, if somewhat unpolished, first-person shooter that gets a ton of bonus points because it absolutely nails the vibe of one of my “favorite” fictional worlds. I ended up getting completely enveloped in it and burned through its campaign (and even unlocked its Platinum Trophy) in just one weekend because its sounds, world, and story are so on point. The soundtrack is perfectly in tone with the first two films, the post-apocalyptic Californian setting feels like it was ripped straight out of those same movies’ future-set scenes, and the wide range of weaponry all feels satisfying to use. Terminator Resistance also manages to keep the eponymous murder machines intimidating throughout most of the story as well. And finally, the Enhanced version of Terminator Resistance comes with an “Infiltrator Mode,” putting you in the endoskeleton of a Terminator with the goal of snuffing out a target who holds crucial information for both the Resistance and Skynet. I highly recommend Terminator: Resistance Enhanced to any and all Terminator fans.
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!
And while you’re here, be sure to check some of the site’s other recent content:
- A Middle of the Row: The Podcast episode on the newly released The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.