Today in Pop Modern: October 9th, 2013

October 9th, 2013Allen: So, reviews seem to be slowly coming out for Beyond: Two Souls. I wasn’t really excited for the game, but it’s refreshing to hear that it’s probably the best Quantic Dream game yet. That isn’t saying much, when you consider that Indigo Prophecy ended with a three-way fight between a psychic, an evil priest, and the physical manifestation of the Internet. But Heavy Rain was also really good…when it wasn’t trying to be awkwardly-acted European crime fiction. Also, good on Ellen Page for starting off her video game acting career with a game like this. It would’ve been easy to be a minor character in the next Dead Space or something, but taking on such an important role in a game as divisive as Beyond shows panache. I don’t know if I’ll be playing it, but I’m definitely gonna keep gobbling up these reviews like candy for now.


James: Every once in a while, I like to review shows that I have watched before. Most of the shows are sagas, such as Arrested Development and How I Met Your Mother. But sometimes I have the rare pleasure of coming across one of my lesser known shows. Mongrels is a show about a fox, a dog, a cat and a pigeon living in England. It has a puppet style that is vaguely reminiscent of The Muppets, yet with a dark satirical twist to it, creating a sitcom ensconced in pop culture references. One of my favorite moments in the show comes when Nigel, the fox and a hen grab a sack of flour on a romantic date. As they go to get a boat, the farmer points to a sign which says “one occupant per boat”. This of course refers to the commonly known MENSA puzzle, where a farmer tries to get across a river with his three objects. In response to the sign, Nigel throws a rock, and winds up stealing a boat. The show is filled with obscure references to English pop-culture, which we at Pop-Modern are contractually obligated to refrain from referencing (our British syndicate Pop Moderene  hates when we do that.) For those who are watching for the first time, or rewatching, I would strongly recommend giving Mongrels a good look.


Magellan: Yesterday the Internet cracked open and gave me a special gift: a Barenaked Ladies music video presented by Rooster Teeth Productions. I’ve made it quite clear up to this point that Barenaked Ladies is my favorite band of all time, which I’ll chalk up to their competent sincerity and Canadian whimsy, though that’s an oversimplification if I’ve ever written one. What makes this video (for a single off their new album Grinning Streak, “Odds Are”) such a revelation for me is that for a number of years I’ve also been a big fan of everything Rooster Teeth Productions has done, from their machinima stuff with Red vs. Blue, to their video game shenanigans at Achievement Hunter, to their live action shorts, to their podcast. To have a video pop up that not only showcases my favorite band singing their song and having fun with it, but also features cameos from web personalities the I’ve followed for years, is exciting to say the least. Because of that, there’s plenty of re-watch value for this video (even if the song is honestly not their best). If anything, you need to at least watch it twice: once for the song, and once to read the news ticker at the bottom of the screen.



Frames of Preference: The Aviator

The AviatorFor such a grandiose biopic, The Aviator sure is a bummer of a film. It tells the story of famous entrepreneur, director, and American playboy Howard Hughes, and his rise and fall in the 20s and 30s. The most tragic aspect of the film (and Hughes’s real life) was that he suffered from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which he hid for years to maintain an air of mystery and perfection in the public eye. Even at the glamorous Hollywood premiere of one of his films, Hughes always has illness in the back of his mind, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance sells this conflicted millionaire’s sadness.