Staff Picks of the Week – December 16th, 2016
Friday is here and so is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I am sure most of you out there, like me, have their tickets and are ready to see it! Friday also means it is time for Staff Picks of the Week! Each week a select few of our staff shares with you something that has kept them entertained recently. But before you move on to those, let me give you a taste of what has been going on the past week here at Rogues Portal! Check out Stephanie Cooke’s Best Comic Artists of 2016. Revisit your childhood with Billy as he breaks down Rankin-Bass holiday specials, including Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and The Little Drummer Boy. Rhian tells what foreign films we should check out. Nicole discusses Dr. Strange in her second instalment of Origins and Firsts. We always have plenty of comic book reviews: Love: The Dinosaur, Boom! Box Mix Tape 2016, Invader Zim Vol. 3, Josie and the Pussycats #3, Reborn #3, and Angel City #3, as well as our own Sunny and Owl Girl. Don’t forget to listen to the latest episodes of Comicsbound and Scooby Dos or Scooby Don’ts. Plus much much more for the low low price of free! Now it is time for the Staff Picks of the Week!
Amelia’s Pick of the Week – My staff pick of the week is the Creative Haven line of adult colouring books. Colouring is back in a big way and it’s geared towards adults this time around! Honestly, I never gave up colouring in my switch from childhood to adulthood, but now instead of the limited choice of Disney or My Little Pony colouring books, there are dozens of intricate, complex, high quality ones to choose from. In my search for more, Creative Haven has proven the best. Van Gogh, kimonos, cats, forests, oceans, there’s a tonne to choose from. So grab some pencil crayons and blow off steam in the most grown up way possible: colouring cats!
Billy’s Pick of the Week – A Muppet Family Christmas just might be my favourite Christmas special ever. Yes, after this last week of exclusively over-analyzing Rankin-Bass, that might come as a shock, but in actuality, I am a Muppet fan first and foremost, and this special has it all. It’s a culmination of everything Jim Henson had built up. The Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and even Muppet Babies come together for a Christmas celebration that’s just so sweet, wonderful, and hilarious. Watch out for that icy patch! There’s warmth here. There’s love. There’s the Swedish Chef trying to cook Big Bird for Christmas dinner. And it ends in the biggest Christmas sing-a-long you’ve ever seen. The fact that this sequence has my favourite Muppet (Gonzo) singing my favourite carol (Good King Wenceslas) is everything. Jim Henson himself appears at the end of this special in his final appearance, watching proudly over his creations, just a little bit removed. It’s meaningful for me. And if you’re a fan of any sort of Jim Henson production, it should be meaningful to you too.
Michael’s Pick of the Week – It’s the end of the year so I’ve been playing catch-up on films that have fallen through the cracks. My pick this week is one of them: Hunt for the Wilderpeople. The director is Taika Waititi, who directed and starred in one of the best films of 2014, What We Do in the Shadows, and is directing the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok. Wilderpeople is about a 13 year old juvenile delinquent played by Julian Dennison and his mountain-man foster Uncle played by Sam Neill. I can’t for the life of me think of another comedy I’ve seen Sam Neill in, which is a waste of his obviously hidden talents. He needs to follow his Jurassic Park co-star into Wes Anderson’s films because he excels at the genre. The true revelation is Dennison, the kid is so instantly dynamic and funny (a montage of his crimes comes early and earned a lot of laughs from me) that he doesn’t feel out of place in a two-hander opposite Neill. Waititi’s direction is top-notch, making use of quick cuts and pans to land some great visual punchlines. He’s New Zealand’s answer to the aforementioned Wes Anderson and I can’t wait to see what else he delivers.
David’s Pick of the Week – My pick this week is Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition. Right now it is free to download on the Xbox One, yes free! Free is always good and this is actually a game worth picking up while you can. I am a multiplayer fan first and foremost. I am not a huge fan of single player games, I love all the Battlefield games, but ask me the last time I finished a single player campaign for any of them. The answer is NEVER. That is why Sleeping Dogs stands out for me. In this open world action game, you play as Wei Shen, an undercover cop trying to take down the Triads from the inside. I played this when it was released on the Xbox 360 and played it non-stop until I completed the story and most of the side missions. I had a blast playing it! So now the definitive edition is out and it has a bunch of technical updates, as well as 24 pieces of DLC for free! I just downloaded it the other day and look forward to taking some time this weekend to revisit Hong Kong and start whipping some Triad ass! So grab it while you can, it is definitely a game worth trying out. Did I mention that it is free? Download it now!
Robert’s Pick of the Week – It goes without saying that the most anticipated movie of the month is Rogue One and boy does it deliver. This movie has more in common with World War 2 movies about Allied soldiers operating behind enemy lines in occupied Paris or in North Africa. And it works! Gone are the Jedi and heroes of the Republic. All we have in this movie are soldiers trying to do the right thing in morally ambiguous ways. There are a bunch of nods to A New Hope which don’t feel jammed in. Kathleen Kennedy has already confirmed there will be no sequel to Rogue One so it was safe to assume that very few people were going to make it out alive. Knowing that, I still, over the course of 2 hours and 15 minutes, managed to get attached to this cast of misfits. I thought all the actors did a bang up job. I loved Alan Tydk as the reprogrammed imperial droid. He had superior levels of snarky replies. And Riz Ahmed (from The Night Of) delivered an emotional performance, if not subtle. I will go out by saying there are actual overt political themes here. You have a multicultural group of rebels against a homogeneous fascist totalitarian regime. I loved that subtext of the film. Go see this!