Saturday, October 29, 2016

Why The Wait?

Ever heard of Batman: Arkham Underworld? No? Well, I’m not surprised. It’s a new mobile game where you aim to become the next criminal mastermind of Gotham. Since this is the city of Batman, you need to recruit various Gotham supervillains to aid you in your conquest.

Sound like a great game right? Well, there’s a problem. I can’t find the game!

Though developer Turbine says the game is available for iOS and Android, I couldn’t find the game on the Android app store. After some serious Googling, I finally found the reason why. Batman: Arkham Underworld is NOT yet available on Android!

It seems the Android release is scheduled only in March 2017 though the game is on iOS for at least 4 months already. This is not the first time this happened. Pokemon Go for example was on Android well before going on iOS. Why is that? 

I know they are different but I always wondered why game companies almost always released a game on one format or console first before releasing it on another. To me, it just never made any sense as you would want as big of a launch as possible right?

Well, I now have to wait 5 months before I can play Batman: Arkham Underworld. Hopefully the game is worth the wait. Better yet, hopefully I can still remember the game exist in 5 months time! Who knows what new hot game would have been released before then. By then, I may just forget the game even existed. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

No Way To Go But Up

Nine months ago, Tampines Rovers scored a coup when it lured former Arsenal and Liverpool player Jermaine Pennant to Singapore. Now, it is reported that Pennant is leaving Singapore after just one season. Before leaving though, he fired a shot across the bow of Singapore football by saying not even Lionel Messi can save the local S-League.

You know what’s the saddest thing about what he said? He was right.

Sadly, the fact is Singapore football is in the doldrums.  No one really go to see the S-League anymore and the champion of the season is Japanese club Albirex Niigata which is exactly a satellite team for the Albirex Niigata team in Japan. Yes, a feeder squad from Japan won the local league.

Honestly, the impact of Pennant has been limited but that doesn’t mean what he said about Singapore football is incorrect. The shining light in all this? There’s no way to go but up. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Comics this week

Birthright #20- After 20 issues, we finally see him. After so long, writer Joshua Williamson finally gave us a bone and show us who Lore really is. I’m sure the scene everyone will be talking about is the dragon Sameal threw at his former comrades but for me, it was the before and current version of Lore that got my attention. I can’t help but wondered what caused such a change in the man who is now revealed as the former “Chosen One”. First Lore, then Mikey; it seems being the “Chosen One” sure is a terrible job.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #12- There are comics with drama; there are comics with action; then there are comics like Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Hilarious jokes are tossed left and right by writer Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare as Lunella's problems mount. The main joke here is that while Lunella sees her problems as world-ending events, the rest of us just laugh at the “drama” of kids. A fun issue!

Ms. Marvel #12- This is a wonderful issue. Writer Willow Wilson and artist Mirka Andolfo knocked it out of the park with this one. After the events of Civil War, Kamala goes on vacation which in her case means back to her homeland of Pakistan. I loved how Wilson mixed in the great slice of life scenes in Pakistan while softly showing the realities of life faced by a Pakistani-American in America. Mirka was excellent showing Kamala’s confusion while surrounded by her loving extended family. All that plus they also introduced the street-level superhero in Karachi! Pick this one up, it is nothing short of being marvelous (pun intended).

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Review of The Accountant

Much like his good friend Matt Damon, I always found Ben Affleck to be a strange person to be an action star. However much like Matt Damon, Affleck has been a surprising effective action star. “The Town”; “Batman vs Superman”; and now Affleck did it again in “The Accountant”.

The film has Affleck as Christian Wolff, a mathematical genius who works mainly as a forensic accountant for dangerous criminal organizations that are experiencing internal embezzlement. Such work got the attention of the U.S Treasury Department whose director, Raymond King (J. K. Simmons) want to catch Wolff before his retirement.

However all the Treasury Department knows of Wolff is that he is good, and that his alias is "The Accountant”. With little to nothing to go on, King blackmail young Treasury analyst Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to help him identify and arrest the “Accountant”. With the heat on, Wolff was advised by his friend "The Voice" to lay low and take a non-criminal account.

The case is auditing the books of robotics corporation Living Robotics, whose in-house accountant, Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), found suspicious financial discrepancies. The company's CEO, Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow) willingly cooperates with Wolff's investigation while believing Dana's findings to be a mistake. Wolff discovers that $61 million dollars has been embezzled from the company. From there, Wolff finds his life in danger as an assassin (Jon Bernthal) target him for death and he find that Dana is also targeted by the assassination team.

Now I know the reviews of “The Accountant” have been decidedly mixed but I enjoyed it immensely. Ben Affleck is excellent in this movie, giving a committed performance that brought Wolff to life. Whether he was killing assassins or solving math problems, Wolff was a believable character.

In fact, I say the cast on the whole was excellent. Both Simmons and Bernthal made the most of their limited time on screen and Cynthia Addai-Robinson gave Medina the right mix of intelligence and desperate to make the character work. However the best part of the movie for me was the slightly sweet, off-beat feel of the movie.

This film has several complex things going on at the same time; pained social interactions, brutal intense action scene, complex math accounting problem; yet the movie does works! Director Gavin O'Connor works in the twists well and for an action film, the movie has some surprising emotional depth. I could see the connection between Wolff and his assassin a mile away but when it happened, the scene worked remarkably well. A lot of that has to do with the acting but the direction of the film also helps.

Having said all that, some things in the film did not work. The reviews of the film is mixed and while I don’t agree, I can see why that’s the case. Like I said earlier, the movie has many gears in play and you can argue that there was too much. The movie has a scattershot feel to it and fans who like their action movie to be focused on good guy- bad guy action will be disappointed with this film.

On the whole, I thought the movie to be excellent and I would highly recommend it. Much like “John Wick”, I have a feeling “The Accountant” will be a franchise. If that’s true, then I will be here for the sequel. It’s good. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

"Restoration" Works

2 years and $14 million later, the Bukit Timah Reserve has reopened. The Reserve, which houses Singapore’s tallest hill at 163m, was closed in Sep 2014 for “restoration works” and The National Parks Board (NParks) has now proudly said the “restoration works” are done.

According to the NParks, the Reserve now comes with railings along footpaths; new boardwalks; and an upgraded visitor centre. Oh, there’s even a slip-resistant trail to prevent hikers from slipping. I’m sorry. I know we Singaporeans are pampered city-folks but a “slip-resistant” trail? Come on; a “slip-resistant” trail in a nature reserve? 

What in the world is so natural about that? When you go on a hike, surely falling down on the trail is an accepted risk right? I mean if you can’t even accept that, why are you even there? I know the kaisu mentally of Singaporeans means the NParks want to cover their ass but be serious; railings along trails and a slip-resistant trail? I thought the Bukit Timah Reserve was closed for “restoration works”, not create new items that turn a hike into a walk.

Surely Singaporeans are not that pampered…are we? 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

New Prince Album

It was bounded to happen and sooner than I expected, it is happening. Since the death of Prince, fans of the late singer expected that more, if not most, of his unreleased songs will be released in the future. 

On Nov. 22, that will happen.

Prince is famous (or infamous) for his Vault. A location that contains his unreleased recordings which is said to numbered over 500 songs. Rumors has it there are enough material inside the Vault to last till the end of the century. That's about to be put to the test as "Prince 4Ever" is expected to be only the first of many offerings from the Vault. 

Don't know if the new songs will be any good but I do intend to find out. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Comics this week

Astro City #40- Spells seem as contracts between otherworldly beings and mages? Yet somehow, it worked! Writer Kurt Busiek did it again as Marta, tax accountant and minor mage, has to work out a spell/contract dispute between the Silver Adept and the followers of a demigod. Another fine example of what make Astro City different from all the other superhero books out there every week.

Justice League #7- Okay, I’ll just come out and say it. This has been a terrible JL series so far. I don’t know what big overall plan writer Bryan Hitch has but I won’t be here to see it. I mean the previous JL series was great so I gave this series a chance but thus far, to say it has been disappointing is a huge understatement. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Funny Game

Football is a funny game. Maybe it’s because of that, football fans and media covering football are also sometimes void of sense. I say that because after the bore that was Liverpool vs. Manchester United, fans and the media are saying Man Utd manager Jose Mourinho seems to have his swagger back.

No talk about how he sent his team out to defend for 90mins and put 9-10 men behind the ball at all times. At times, Man Utd looked like they had a 6 men defense! Yet people are saying this was "vintage Mourinho" and that he had "his tactics spot on".

Strange because no one said this when Mourinho's predecessor, Louis van Gaal, did it! No wait, van Gaal never did this because he never had a 6-man defense! Yet somehow van Gaal was chased out of Old Trafford for being “boring” while Mourinho was "spot on".

Having 35% of the possession and playing boring football, but somehow that’s a good thing if your name is Jose Mourinho. If you name is Louis van Gaal then…Strange don’t you think? 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Why Is It So Close?

With less than a month to go before the U.S 2016 Presidential Elections, one thing is perplexing to me. I have no idea why the 2016 presidential race is so close! I just don’t get it!

All indications I had seen and read have Hillary Clinton between 4 to 9 percentage points in front of her rival Donald Trump. I have no idea why it’s so close. Donald Trump inexperience as a politician has clearly been shown in this election. He doubled-down when he should have retreated; made fools of the U.S media who then promptly attacked him; and then peddled half-truths and lies thinking no one would check and call him out on them.

Considering the number of mistakes he had made in this presidential campaign, by all rights Hillary Clinton should be heading to a landslide. Yet somehow, Trump is still within striking distance of her. Why? I don’t know what’s going on in America but from the outside looking in, this should be a no-contest. Even without his missteps, Hillary Clinton is clearly the more experienced, able, and capable of the two.

This should be an easy decision, yet if the polls are to be believed, Americans are spilt between the two. Why?  I just don’t get it. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Comics this week

Superwoman #3- Generally speaking, I have been pretty pleased by this series. However I fear writer Phil Jimenez went into info dump overload in this issue. The entire issue was packed front to back with captions and honestly was too cramped for my liking. Too bad really; if Phil could hold off on the info dump, this issue would have been great.

Monstress #7- After a break, writer Marjorie Liu and artist Sana Takeda are back! As befitting the idea of a new arc, Liu introduced a lot of new elements in this issue but it generally worked. Maika, Pippa and Master Ren are still being hunted but there’s a new ally in the form of a Tiger pirate and someone who could be an aunt to Maika. Yes, Monstress is back and it’s as good as ever. Pick this up!