The Truman Show | Steep | WandaVision, Episode 5
Speeding down slippery slopes...
Movie review - The Truman Show
Movie summary: An insurance salesman discovers his whole life is actually a reality TV show. (IMDb)
That summary of The Truman Show above isn't a lie, but that's not why I'm bringing attention to it - it's because this movie came out before reality TV was a thing. It's incredibly difficult to believe, but it's true - the likes of Big Brother and Survivor, that launched the initial reality TV craze, came out after this movie had already deconstructed the idea to hell and back.
Then again, when you have a director like Peter Weir - responsible for the incredible Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World - I guess it shouldn't really be a surprise just how well this turned out. The Truman Show is just brilliant from start to finish and there's not a single moment wasted that doesn't propel the characters or the plot forward in some way.
Jim Carrey is great as Truman Burbank too, with moments of slapstick to remind you what made him famous in the first place, but the premise of the movie and how things change as the story progresses allow him to show off what a genuinely great actor he is and just as a comedic performer. There are moments of doubt, paranoia and determination that match anything any other actor could've done in the role.
There was also a pleasant surprise as I was reminded just how much I like the score to this movie, to the point of downloading it to listen to separately - much like Interstellar. There are several stand-out pieces, but even the less forceful melodies still do the job of enhancing the scenes they're used in.
The only thing holding back The Truman Show from being an all-time great is that it sets up some very disturbing implications - corporations being able to adopt and effectively imprison orphans for their entire lives in the name of entertainment being the most obvious - as well as other aspects such as the audience immediately looking for something new to watch once it's all over, but never engages fully in exploring any of it beyond a brief outburst from Sylvia (Natascha McElhone).
I get that the movie is focused on Truman and I can't see how you'd be able to delve into these murkier waters without completely ruining his story, but it does rob the movie of a certain weight. Maybe if it was made today (but please don't let anyone remake this), these issues would feature more heavily, but this is still a really bloody good movie anyway.
The Truman Show is a really great movie that shows off Jim Carrey's range as an actor, even if it does side-step some of the moral and ethical quandaries it raises. It's really well-paced too, with it switching to an almost completely different movie at the halfway point to keep you interested, and a fantastic score that enhances every scene.
Game review - Steep
Game summary: Ride a massive open world across the Alps, where the powder is always fresh and the run never ends. (Steam)
Steep fell foul of my 'Endgame Rule', lasting three hours before I gave up on it because it's just not good enough to keep me playing. It's not particularly poor, but I don't really give a shit about winter sports and this game never came close to changing my mind. It's got a very 'bro'-y atmosphere too, which doesn't exactly help matters and might well put more people off than anything.
The controls are good enough despite some occasional bizarre physics that'll see you restarting events, although most are short enough anyway that it's never that big of a deal. It's a bit like death by a thousand cuts though, with your character occasionally behaving contrary to how you're trying to control them, or showing no survival instinct and unnecessarily leaning in directions that lead to collisions with trees of rock.
It all looks and sounds okay enough, although the snow never really feels like snow and more like a strange substance coloured white to closely mimic it instead. It's just weird that a single-player game like God of War has better snow in just small sections than a game based around the stuff. It makes for a strange disconnect that will only end up pushing away non-fans of winter sports even more.
Steep is the kind of game that will only really appeal to those interested in winter sports, not really doing anything to convince a non-fan otherwise. It all feels like it's been designed to be 'just enough' - the visuals, sound and gameplay aren't bad in any way, but neither are they good enough to persuade me to keep playing. I had some fun with it, but was more than happy to move on to something new after a few hours.
TV review - WandaVision, Episode 5, "On a Very Special Episode..."
Episode summary: Wanda addresses Vision's worries when he grows suspicious of the neighbours' strange behaviour. (IMDb)
WandaVision has now reached a point where it's very difficult to talk about the plot of each episode without giving away significant spoilers, so - apart from the summary above - I'll just say that something happens this episode that significantly alters the possibilities open to the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward, while definitely planting the seeds for the next Doctor Strange movie.
The problem with that movie is that even talking about its full title and who from this show is scheduled to appear could actually spoil this episode of WandaVision for some - this has actually got me wondering if an announced release for at least a year in the future and hasn't even finished filming yet has ever spoiled a current series before?
But to focus on this episode, we get some real sparks between Wanda and Vision as the latter grows more suspicious of what's happening to the town and even to himself - Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are both incredible in this episode and just adds more fuel to the fire of my belief that they'll both be nominated for awards for this series.
We also get more exposure for Agnes (Kathryn Hahn), who has some dialogue hinting at a greater role in proceedings than we're currently aware of - it's clear that she's not like the other people in the town, but not exactly why yet. We also get to see the babies, Billy and Tommy, grow up into 5 year olds and then into 10 year olds, although I don't think they're done growing just yet...
WandaVision's fifth episode makes a huge impact, not just with the first fight between Wanda and Vision, but also for the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe and shaking up things hugely. The best thing is that, despite the larger ramifications, this still centres entirely on Wanda and what has happened/is happening to her - even if she's now claiming that she doesn't know how everything started...