Category Archives: Webshows

SUNDAYS

 

The end of the world seems like a nightmare to Ben. A memory of a past life that doesn’t belong to him. When Ben starts to remember Isabelle, the only love he’s ever known, he realises she’s missing in his life. An existential descent into confusion and the desperate need to find out the truth begins. This reality depicts a stunning, surprising and dark world. A world that is clearly not his.

It’s a mouthful, yeah? Well, it was an eyeful as well. Strap yourselves in, make sure you’re not dreaming and let’s get into this review.

Storyline (7/10)

As the description shows, it’s a good, solid sci-fi plotline that they’re working with. Lots of room for exploration, but not so “out there” that only the stalwarts of the genre will stick with it. There’s something to be said for striking the balance between original story-telling and sticking to the usual suspects. Watching this I got flashes of everything from The Matrix to Equilibrium. Maybe I’ve watched too much sci-fi, but I definitely got the feeling that Mischa Rozema is a huge genre nerd and wants to incorporate elements of some of the best films in the genre to create something unique – if not exactly original.

So… that being said… 7/10? you would ask if you were asking. Yes. because: for a 14 minute film, there didn’t really seem to be much substance for me to get into. To contrast, the Deus Ex: Human Revolution short managed to show me how the prosthetics worked, tell me a good amount about the character and still pack in an epic fight scene… and it was significantly shorter than 14 minutes.

Maybe it’s how proof of concept films work, I dunno, but I really didn’t come away from SUNDAYS knowing a great deal other than that this dude is in a world which may not be real and his girl friend has been ineffectively wiped from his memory. (And I could have gotten that just from reading the description.) And this brings me to…

Pacing (6/10)

You know that whole thing where you’re meant to pace yourself for a race so you don’t run out of energy half-way through a marathon and don’t jog your way through a sprint?

Yeah well, someone ought to have given this short film that whole pep talk, too.

We begin with a stalwart of the post-apocalyptic genre – an exposition from our protaginist. He sounds brow-beaten, defeated and bordering on bored. Excellent start – except that he just keeps on expositing (I deem this to be a word). Later on, when things begin to fall apart (I’m not making a Chinua Achebe reference, things do literally start to fall apart, and it looks cool) even that cinematographic brilliance is dragged back by the pace. Again – maybe I just don’t get concept films. But that really got to me and dampened an otherwise awesome viewing experience.

Visuals (9/10)

Omg, did I mention that things literally fell apart?! Yeah, that was pretty cool.

Based on the visuals alone this movie would be in competition for a share of my monthly entertainment expense budget. It’s got that gloomy feeling going on, without actually just being a bunch of scenes in the dark (yes, I’m looking at you guys: Batman, God-why-did-you-do-this-to-us-zilla and pretty much everyone else who has no consideration for those of us with visual impediments).

What I’m saying is that out of everything, the visuals did the most for the tone of this film for me. So, kudos, cinematography people.

Overall (7.3/10)

All in all, I wasn’t gripping the edge of my seat screaming “Make this movie so!”, but I was interested. A good old-fashioned post-apocalyptic flick is always a good time, in my never-humble opinion.

Recommendation: Don’t watch this in the same week as, say, The Matrix, or Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind, or even in proximity to Stay – but watch it. Give this little gem its time in the Sun, because it actually is worth watching.

Watch SUNDAYS on Vimeo here.

Rivals

Pro Gamer Jason just met the girl of his dreams, but he’s about to discover that she’s also his biggest competition. With the all-important Regionals coming up, what begins as a simple rivalry turns into an IRL war as both teams try to lie, cheat, and scheme their way to victory. RIVALS, presented by geek bar Battle & Brew, proves that there’s no such thing as love within the lanes.

You would think that after being burned by the scores of Season 1s that never churned out Season 2s (I’m looking at you with despair in my eyes, Gamer Girl), an emotional geek like myself would up and call it quits on these gaming webshows. But I can’t stop myself. So up this time around on the geek webshow deck is Rivals.

rivals

First off “there’s no such thing as love within the lanes” is going to be a chapter title in my memoir. Secondly, that’s a pretty accurate description of the show. So let’s get into it…

Plotline (9/10)

Rivals developed well and had all the elements of a well-thought-out story. A chance encounter turned into a running rivalry / romance waiting to happen, a great supporting cast with their own lives and stories to delve into when the main story slowed down, a tangible end goal – and a truly dislikeable but occasionally funny antagonist.

Following Vic and Jason as they tried to keep their teams together appealed to both the realist and the escapist in me. The realist liked the everyday-ness of it all, the awkward encounters and the group dynamics. The escapist… well, how many of us are really ever going to get to the LoL regionals and still have lives to live in our spare time?

But seriously, Rivals packed a complex and coherent storyline into its 12 episode season, and that’s awesome. I accidentally skipped an episode at one point (read: damn you, sporadic free WiFi zone) and found myself actually going back to catch up on plot points – this doesn’t happen often with webshows.

Characterisation (8/10)

Sometimes, not all the time – and not even very often, but sometimes – stereotypes work. Rivals did a great job of making room for plot development by cutting away character development time and introducing us to a cast of characters we largely already know: that douchebag gamer, that incongruously cute but vicious gamer, the silent and deadly strategiser, the guy who never loses etc, etc. Usually I’m not a fan of stereotypical characters because it tends to end there and we never get to know anything more about them, but Rivals did a good job of using them as a base and building from there.

Our protagonists were quirky, sometimes irritating and other times endearing, which is always a great mix. I suppose my only gripe was the over-done extras, and there were only two of them so it’s not a train smash.

Production (9/10)

You know how it is with indie productions. You can get anything from “is that static in the background?” to “this is like watching a Nigerian movie” levels of sound and video quality. I’m glad to say that Rivals was closer to the static in the background levels of noise than they were to the ear-bleed levels when it comes to sound. And the show definitely improved as it went on, adjusting well for the outdoor scenes (trust me, outdoor scenes are not a joke).

What really shone for me was the video quality. Whether chilling in the dark and damp of a basement bar, at the Battle & Brew (how awesome a name is that??) or in the unforgiving sunlight of an abandoned stretch of road, these guys had their camera work on point. It’s the kind of thing that makes you realise that not all webshows have to come with the “forgive the quality” addendum when you’re recommending them to friends.

Overall (8.7/10)

If you were hoping to learn how to play LoL from this show, you’re out of luck. However, if you wanted some geeky entertainment and maybe a lesson on how to deal with douchebag gamers, you’re in all the lucks because Rivals is geeky and entertaining and (SPOILER) in the end the douchenozzle loses. (END SPOILER).

Recommendation: Get comfy in your gaming chair and tune out everything but your love for Summoner’s Rift, because an enemy is about to be slain!

Watch the complete Season 1 on Youtube here.

Check the Gasm Media website out here.

And you can follow @RivalsWebShow on Twitter.

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