Daily Archives: September 11, 2018

Fall Movie League – Nun the Less

The first week of our fall Fantasy Movie League is now done.  The post is a day early this week as I have a bloated mega-post planned for tomorrow already.

It looks like we have 16 people ready to go for the season based on the first week’s picks including at least one new player.  This first week saw a new film back at the top of the box office after a couple of weeks of carry overs dominating.  The lineup for the week looked like this:

The Nun                     $615
Crazy Rich Asians           $218
Peppermint                  $205
The Meg                     $88
Mission: Impossible         $62
Searching                   $62
Operation Finale            $52
God Bless the Broken Road   $48
Christopher Robin           $42
BlacKkKlansman              $37
Alpha                       $32
Happytime Murders           $30
Mile 22                     $26
Incredibles 2               $26
Hotel Transylvania 3        $16

On Monday I was still thinking Crazy Rich Asians might continue to be the right pick for anchor.  But then I read up on The Nun and found out that it was part of a whole series of very successful horror movies, including last year’s Annabelle Creation.  That, the growing projections over the week, and the Thursday night preview take got me to swap to The Nun as my anchor.  However, I did next to no research on filler titles which was my downfall for the week.  Right anchor, wrong filler.  I ended up with 1x The Nun and 7x The Incredibles 2.

Not the worst pick, but The Incredibles 2 dropped a lot with the passing of Labor Day and the start of school in the US.

The Nun was the best performer for the week, exceeding expectations by a fair margin, so was the anchor you had to go with to be a contender.  The perfect pick for the week was 1x The Nun, 1x The Meg, 2x Searching, and 4x Christopher Robin.  Nobody in the TAGN league managed to get the perfect pick.

The top ten scores for the week were:

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $84,581,253
  2. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $84,581,253
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $84,581,253
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – $81,825,073
  5. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $81,551,873
  6. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $80,242,277
  7. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $77,068,947
  8. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $76,451,282
  9. Ben’s X-Wing Express – $75,063,100
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – $63,428,493

As I said, this season will be top ten lists only.  Also, since this is the first week I don’t have to do a season score as well.

Corr, Po, and Goat all picked the same lineup.  For the box office scoring the ranking doesn’t make any difference unless you want to brag about having won the week.  But for the new scoring system order matters, so getting the tie breaker correct suddenly matters.

With the new scoring system the stack is the same but the scores are different.

  1. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – 10
  2. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 9
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – 8
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – 7
  5. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – 6
  6. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 5
  7. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – 4
  8. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – 3
  9. Ben’s X-Wing Express – 2
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 1

I decided to go with just awarding points to the top ten, as in the example I posted last week.  With 16 players in the season I considered more points, 12 or 15, but decided against that for now.  I can change it later, but more points seemed likely to stretch the gap between first place and last.  Right now first place can only ever gain 10 points on somebody in a week, rather than 12 or 15.

The two scoring systems on week one do look very different.  The box office score doesn’t show a huge gap between first and ninth place, while the new scoring has first place gaining 10x the points of 10th spot.  I suspect that as we get towards the end of the season the the box office scoring system will effectively have a much wider gap while the new scoring system will lead to a tighter race at the end.  We shall see.

Coming up for week two we have:

The Predator         $408
The Nun              $338
A Simple Favor       $257
White Boy Rick       $137
Crazy Rich Asians    $131
Peppermint           $86
The Meg              $43
Unbroken 2           $40
Searching            $40
Christopher Robin    $31
Mission: Impossible  $28
BlacKkKlansman       $22
Operation Finale 2   $21
Alpha                $18
The Wife             $18

Going away this week are Happytime Murders, God Bless the Broken Road, Mile 22, Hotel Transylvania 3, and the long lasting The Incredibles 2

New this week are The Predator, A Simple Favor, White Boy Rick, Unbroken 2, and The Wife.

The Predator.  Is there precedent for remaking a movie that featured two actors who later went on to be state governors?  The original Predator was in the sweet spot of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting career (defined as between Scavenger Hunt and Last Action Hero) and had a bunch of spin offs, including a branch that somehow managed to pit the predator against the alien from the Aliens series, the best part of which was, in my opinion, the Alien Loves Predator web comic.

So there is a lot of history and The Predator is actually a continuation of the series rather than a reboot or remake.  It might as well be though since, aside from the web comic, the only bit I can recall was the original movie, and that mostly involves former Navy Seal, pro-wrestler-cum-actor, and future governor of Minnesota Jessie “The Body” Ventura wielding a backpack mini-gun that was probably the inspiration for including such weapons in every shooter from Doom forward.

Enough baggage.  How will it do?  It is a toss up between its history, being the shiny new action film, and it playing in ~3,800 theaters versus crappy reviews and it being a bit more nerd trivia than mainstream at this point.  Also, the 107 minute run time likely means they are padding out a minimal story.  Estimates put it between $25 and $35 million.  At the low point you don’t want it, while at the high end it has to be your anchor.

A Simple Favor is a murder mystery about a blogger and it stars Anna Kendrick which is all I need to know as I am now all-in on this.  Yes, it has a bit of the same tech-mystery vibe as Searching, but it gives bloggers their time in the sun.  Might be good for $14 million, if you need to get into numbers to pick this.

I recall the trailer for White Boy Rick coming up in the 25 minutes of trailers… including a red card trailer… that ran before BlackKklansman when we saw that.  There were apparently a lot of films who felt the Spike Lee demographic was vital to the success.

Anyway, it is about a kid who gets involved in the drug trade then becomes an FBI informer, all before he becomes of legal age.  Neither the story (based on true events, as they say) nor the kid has much draw for me, but the adults around him feature some big names including Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, and Piper Laurie.  Maybe good for $9 million if the long range forecast is accurate.

Unbroken 2, which is the sequel to the 2014 film Unbroken, and which has a longer name, but I am going to call it Unbroken 2 because it is easier.  This film follows former Olympian and freed prisoner of war Louis Zamperini through his post-war struggle and his becoming an evangelical Christian.  Short, made by a team that does faith focused films, and none of the original cast returns.  Memory of the first film might trick enough people into seeing it for it to get to $3 million.

And then there is The Wife, which actually premiered in the US a year ago, but which is out for a return run because… reasons.  I don’t know.  An art house film with a strong cast, it probably tries to make people think or something, which is never a box office draw unless you throw in enough explosions or gun shots to drown that out a bit.  But they are traveling to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, so gunshots, explosions, or a kidnapping are probably out.

Still, there it is, priced down with Alpha, which made $2.5 million last week, so somebody thinks it is worth about a million I guess.

With all of that my Monday Hot Takes pick ended up being 3x A Simple Favor and 5x Searching.  See, I wasn’t kidding about being all-in.  Tech thrillers for the win I hope.  Whether I will stick with that lineup through the Friday lock is another question.

The EVE September Update Strikes Another Blow for Symmetry

The September update for EVE Online doesn’t have much in the way of cornerstone features.  The changes were largely drawn from the “little things” thread, which are small improvements to our daily life in New Eden.

A few changes in the patch notes worth noting.  For example:

It is no longer possible to add items to a mobile depot, while it is reinforced. It is still possible to remove items from a reinforced mobile depot or scoop the mobile depot itself.

This will likely lead to more dead excavator drones as it is the general practice of Rorqual pilots, when caught by attackers, to drop a mobile depot and dump their expensive excavator drones in it.  That saves them for another day as killing a mobile depot requires you to reinforce it, then come back later to kill it.  Now however the Rorqual pilot needs to be quick as the attackers will likely reinforce any depot they drop right away.

Then there is another key item:

Upwell Cargo Deposit is now available at all Upwell Structures. This feature allows players flying outside an Upwell Structure to place items from their ship cargo directly into their personal hangar in the structure.

This should close off the courier scam where pilots get sent to a citadel only to find that they have no access.  They can’t deliver so lose the usually inflated collateral.  There was a thread about this change in the forums.

And there were also a series of changes to how ship fittings are managed.  One big item is that you can save cargo items as part of the fit.  This will be a boon for Reavers, as Asher does like us to haul around a pile of refits.

If we could strap things to our ships, we would

There is a long list of minor updates, enough that there is likely something there to make you happy.

But the big change in the September releases is the graphical update to the line of ships based on the Caldari Osprey.  It was one of the few remaining asymmetrical designs.

The Osprey in its final form

Once the Caldari cruiser with mining bonuses, it eventually got fully focused on the logistics (space healer) role once CCP was done revamping the mining ship lineup.

Space was different back in 2007

There was a joke about Caldari ships back when I started playing EVE Online.  It was said that when it came to Caldari ship design, there was a designer for the left half of ships and a designer for the right half of ships, and that these two people had never met.

Over the years since CCP has been regularly changing the sometimes wildly asymmetrical designs with ships that have bilateral symmetry.  Some of these have been good.  I think the Scorpion and Moa ship lines look better for the change.  Others I have been less enthusiastic about.  The Cormorant got an odd treatment, while the Griffin went from a sleek lined frigate to a space pig.  All a matter of opinion I suppose.

This time the came from the Osprey, which now has matching appendages on either side.

The new Osprey

These side bits also now fold back while the ship is in warp.

Side thingies down!

The central body remains similar to the old model, with a frilled snout and the long, tapering engine housing in the back.

The Osprey Navy Issue got its own new set of wings with the change.

Osprey Navy Issue

And the tech II variation, the Basilisk, got wings that are somewhat reminiscent of Dumbo.

Flying with both doors open?

Those doors fold down a bit when the Basi is in warp.

Folded down a bit

I am not particularly enamored with the change.  As with the Oneiros, I think they managed to remove all the grace from the design with this change.  But I have been told that symmetry makes SKIN development easier, and SKINs sell.

Anyway, that is what we are getting for September.  The patch notes are available to read through, if you want to see all the little changes, while the updates page only mentions the Osprey changes.  The update has been declared live, so everything mentioned is now a thing.

Coincident with this update CCP also announced a special SKIN release as a fundraising effort for the family of a member of the team, CCP Mankiller, who passed away in July at the age of 44.

Cordite Blossom Sabre

These SKINs, called Cordite Blossom, will be available from the New Eden store for a limited time and, once removed, will be retired and never sold again.  Proceeds from the sales will go to help the family of the late CCP Mankiller.

The SKINs are available for the following hulls:

  • 60 PLEX – Punisher
  • 60 PLEX – Slasher
  • 60 PLEX – Sabre
  • 60 PLEX – Zealot
  • 60 PLEX – Eagle
  • 60 PLEX – Ferox
  • 60 PLEX – Brutix
  • 60 PLEX – Hurricane

Buy a SKIN or two if you can.

Addendum: The fundraising goal was reached and the Cordite Blossom SKINs are now off the market.