Blade Runner 2049

Mar 7, 2018

Blade Runner 2049 Blade Runner 2049.

I remember watching the original Blade Runner when I was about 10 years old. I was way too young and dumb to understand any of it, but I remember loving the futuristic look and neo-noir look of the movie and it stuck in my memory. Years later I watched it again and loved it, and I still do, I even love the later cuts that give the movie a whole different meaning.

I approach the sequels of movies I love suspiciously, I’ve been burned by bad sequels and reboots too many times, so I usually curb my enthusiasm or drown it alltogether, so for this movie, my excitment was near zero.

It ended up being really great and I loved it. It’s a proper sequel worthy of the original movie, very well made with good writing, good casting, fantastic cinematography and great soundtrack. The story is simple, interesting and ties in nicely with the 1982 movie.

Some might say that the movie is a bit too long, which I understand, but disagree. I loved the slow and unrushed pacing, it just felt adequate for a Blade Runner sequel. If it was longer, I wouldn’t mind at all.

I give it two big thumbs up, and that’s because I only have two thumbs.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Dec 24, 2017

Star Wars: The The Last Jedi Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

I liked it. There’s been a lot of criticism about this particular Star Wars episode, and while I understand why it didn’t meet everyone’s expectations, I think it’s a great episode for Star Wars.

Ghost in the Shell

Dec 6, 2017

Ghost in the Shell Ghost in the Shell.

I haven’t had the chance to watch the newer Ghost in the Shell movie when it came out, but because I’m a fan of the original anime and manga, I wanted to see it, so it’s done now.

I’ll get it out the way: I didn’t like it.

The story is based on parts of the original anime/manga and parts of the Stand Alone Complex story of the animated series (and other sprinkles here and there), and they’re great stories originally, but it’s very hard to take two stories, and condense it into one good and profound story. It feels shallow and rushed, unlike the source material.

Some scenes are a carbon copy of scenes in the original anime, and they are actually well done, but they seem to have been grafted into the movie without being backed by the story, leaving a sense of disconnection through out.

Not all is bad, the visuals are impressive, the casting is ok and the music is inspired from Kenji Kawai’s awesome music from the anime (his main theme is included).

Unfortunately the movie crumbled under its own weight, lacking the magic, feel, depth and philosophical themes of the original source and that’s a shame.

Stranger Things 2

Nov 3, 2017

Grass They are back!

I loved the first season of Stranger Things, so my expectations were pretty high for the second season and although I wasn’t disappointed by any means, I must say that my favorite season is still the first, but by a narrow margin.

Having said that, I loved it. The second season did add more depth to the story and old characters, new great characters (mostly) and more of those awesome 80’s references.

Not all was perfect, I’m a bit divided about the infamous episode 7 and would have liked to see more of the Upside Down, but overall it’s a great season that left me wanting more once again.

Now hurry up with season 3.

Super Nintendo Classic

Oct 1, 2017

SNES Classic The “Super Nintendo Entertainment System Nintendo Classic Mini”. That’s a big name!

When Nintendo announced the NES Classic I was pretty excited, not because of the NES, but because I was almost certain that they would be doing the same for the SNES. I had one when I was a teenager and I have very fond memories of the thing, so I had to grab one, since it includes many of my favorite games on this console.

Update: On the series of half-assed reviews, here’s one for the SNES Classic.

Dangel

Sep 29, 2017

Peugeot 505 4x4 Dangel Peugeot 505 4x4 Dangel.

Dangel is a small french company specialised in 4x4 conversions for regular 2-wheel drive cars, mostly Peugeot and Citroën. Even though Dangels were available to anyone, most were bought by french government agencies that needed vehicles to access remote places on mountains (police, fire fighters, military and so on).

For the 505, they took the regular production car and added a reinforced subframe, new suspension, 4x4 transmission, a transfer gearbox with low/high gear, locking differentials, big wheels and some trim and fender extensions to make it look cooler. The 505 was already a big car and these modifications made it look even bigger.

My father bought his 505 Dangel on a French Embassy auction where they regularly sold the embassy vehicles. He used it mostly for work but it was also a pretty decent family car 1.

Our Dangel Old and grainy photo of my father’s 505 Dangel.

It originally had a 70 horsepower 2.3 diesel engine that lacked power and torque, but it was swapped it for the turbo version of the same engine with an additional 10 hp but way more torque, that doesn’t seem like a lot but it made all the difference displacing the 2-ton machine. With its locking differencial and low/high gear it was really good offroad and could handle most of what was thrown at it despite the very long wheelbase.

In the end of its life the car was pretty beat up and had developed a nasty transmission vibration that was difficult to fix because parts were almost impossible to find, so my father ended up selling it.

I was a teenager at the time and I thought it was a really cool car (and I still do). I also learned to drive in it on mountain dirt roads somewhere in Morocco. I loved that car.


  1. The Dangel only had 5 seats, so it wasn’t as good as the other Peugeot 505 we had that had 7 seats. [return]

Four Years of 944

Sep 19, 2017

The 944 in the mountains at dusk The 944 in the mountains at dusk. Pop up headlights are always cool.

I bought my 944 four years ago. I intended to keep it for a few months and then sell it, but fell in love with it and now I don’t think I’m going to sell it even if their value has more than doubled or tripled since I got it. I’ve had good offers to buy it from more than a bunch of people. Even the former owners regret selling it.

It’s been a really great car, way better than I expected. I love to drive it, and even though I don’t drive it as much as I would like, every time I take the wheel I feel like a little kid again.

Current Status

Now that my father is in town, I took the opportunity (and his know-how 1) to replace the rear crankshaft seal that was left leaking from the clutch job last year 2. It’s a massive job that requires the removal of most of the transmission out of the car. It took us a few days, but it’s done, it doesn’t leak oil anymore and the car is back on the road again.

I’m all bruised of working on the car, but pretty happy!


  1. Retired chief mechanic at Honda. [return]
  2. It didn’t stop the car, I still drove it every now and then, it was only a small leak, but an annoying one that risked contaminating the brand new clutch and ruining it. [return]

The Switch After Two Months

Sep 9, 2017

Switch in HandheldJoy-Cons in Grip I still think the Switch is one of the best consoles ever made.

After almost two months with the Switch, I still think it’s a really great console. I’ve been playing Breath of the Wild almost everyday. I have a few more thoughts about it:

TV / Handheld

I play more on the TV, but it’s really great to be able to take it elsewhere, either in the house or outside. My play ratio must be about 80% on the TV and 20% as handheld. Even if 20% doesn’t sound like much, being able to do it is something really special.

Performance

The Switch performs pretty good, but sometimes I do wish I could play PS4 games on it, and I sometimes wonder how absolutely amazing Breath of the Wild would have looked on PS4-like hardware. Breath of the Wild is still very beautiful on the Switch, and it makes you forget the Switch’s specs while playing, but you still wonder anyway…

Switch OS

Even though I love the design and simplicity of the Switch OS, it lacks some pretty important features, mostly related to the friend list. There’s no way to message friends in your list, manage a game party or voice chat 1 with players in your team.

There’s an iOS and Android app for some of these functionalities, but you shouldn’t have to use another device to play a game on the Switch. This is a ridiculous solution to something that should be implemented in the OS. I really hope they add this in an update.

Also, Nintendo is still insisting on Friend Codes!

Battery Capacity

I’d love more battery capacity, as 2.5 to 3 hours doesn’t seem enough. To be fair, I’ve never really used the Switch for more that 2 hours in handheld mode, but it’s always a concern whenever I take it elsewhere.

Zelda

Breath of the Wild is such a great game, that even though I haven’t finished it yet, I definitely want more.

Development cycles for home console Zelda games have taken 4 to 6 years, but if you include handheld games, a Zelda game has been launched every other year. With the consolidation of development teams around the Switch, it may be possible to get one or two more Zelda games over the lifetime of the Switch. I wouldn’t mind that they’d reuse the Breath of the Wild engine for future Zelda games, because it is so good.

Joy-Cons

I like the Switch controllers, I think they found a nice middle ground between a home console controller and a handheld controller, and it works great once you get used to it. I would have liked an analog shoulder trigger though.


  1. The Switch doesn’t have a microphone, but the Switch is the most versatile console out there. A special Joy-con with microphone or a microphone port could be made or even a bluetooth headset. [return]