Monday, August 31, 2015

Boston Globe Fun & Games

"Pokémon game lures all ages; Families embrace a lifestyle on old-school game’s circuit" by Mark Arsenault Globe Staff  August 31, 2015

NEW BEDFORD — Players’ parents were still buzzing over a possible plot against the recent Pokémon World Championships at the Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston. Two Iowa men who had made online threats against conventiongoers were arrested in Massachusetts, and weapons were found in their car. They face a dangerousness hearing Tuesday.

See: Pathetic Pokemon Psyop

The arrests raised questions, not the least of which is: What the heck is the Pokémon World Championships?


For those outside the lifestyle, the Poképalooza in Boston 10 days ago probably would have passed without notice, if not for the two tournament invitees from Iowa, who allegedly made threats over the Web, and then drove 1,300 miles to the Back Bay with an AR-15 rifle, 12-gauge shotgun, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in their trunk. An online moderator flagged the Web postings, and the men, James Stumbo, 27, and Kevin Norton, 18, were ultimately arrested on gun charges at their hotel in Saugus. Both are accomplished players of the game, which is also played by adults.

Police don’t know what the men intended to do with their arsenal of real-life weapons but suggest the arrests may have prevented a mass shooting.

The irony, Pokémon experts say, is that the game is intentionally light on violent language and imagery, to make it friendly for young children.

“It’s always based on putting the other character to sleep or making them confused,” said John Thorne, co-owner of The Wizards Duel, a Brockton gaming shop that hosts Pokémon league play. “While other games say things like ‘kill the creature,’ in Pokémon, when the creature is gone, it’s just knocked out of the game.”

The game itself resists easy explanation. Experts talking about it sound like elves speaking in tongues....


"‘Straight Outta Compton’ tops box office for 3d week" by Jake Coyle Associated Press  August 31, 2015

NEW YORK — The Christian drama ‘‘War Room’’ made a surprise bid for the box-office lead, Zac Efron’s music drama ‘‘We Are Your Friends’’ bombed spectacularly, and the N.W.A biopic ‘‘Straight Outta Compton’’ kept chugging along.

Universal’s ‘‘Straight Outta Compton’’ topped the box office for the third straight week with $13.2 million at North American theaters over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. The film, which has now made $134.1 million in total, has continued to dominate August moviegoing. It joins ‘‘Jurassic World’’ as the only movies to lead the box office three consecutive weeks this summer.

Related: Parking the Theme of the Day

The late August weekend held scant competition for ‘‘Straight Outta Compton,’’ but ‘‘War Room’’ nearly matched it. The Sony TriStar release took in $11 million by appealing to faith-based audiences, an often powerful but underserved demographic at the multiplex. ‘‘War Room’’ is about an African-American family who perseveres through prayer.

‘‘We knew that we were going to get a lot of love, we just didn’t expect quite this much love,’’ said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony. ‘‘This is a genre that we’re very much committed to.’’

The film, directed by Alex Kendrick, is the highest opening yet for Affirm Films, a production company that has had previous success with low-budget films that pull in Christian audiences through grassroots marketing.

So the success of ‘‘War Room’’ wasn’t overly surprising. Faith-based films have regularly performed well at the box office.

But the thoroughness of the flop of ‘‘We Are Your Friends’’ was unusual. The Efron-led film opened with just $1.8 million on 2,333 screens. That makes it one of the lowest weekend openings ever for a film that played so widely.

‘‘August can be a land of opportunity or it can be your worst nightmare,’’ said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office firm Rentrak.

Whereas ‘‘We Are Your Friends’’ got lost in the shuffle of a traditionally quiet period for the movie business, Dergarabedian said, ‘‘War Room’’ used its late-summer, little-competition release date to its advantage. ‘‘War Room,’’ Dergarabedian said, further proves the box-office strength of faith-based moviegoers: ‘‘They are looking for content. If you build it, they will come.’’

‘‘No Escape,’’ the Thailand thriller starring Owen Wilson and Lake Bell, opened with $8.3 million for the Weinstein Co.

In its fifth weekend, Paramount’s ‘‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’’ earned $8.3 million to bring its North American total to $170.4 million.

With another low-key weekend looming over Labor Day, Hollywood’s summer is slowing to a crawl. Overall business on the weekend was down 21.4 percent from last year, according to Rentrak.


Stop making shit and maybe things would improve.


Be sure to snap a selfie:

From left: Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, and actress Serayah McNeill on the MTV Video Awards red carpet.
From left: Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, and actress Serayah McNeill on the MTV Video Awards red carpet (Danny Moloshok/Reuters)

Related: Name Droppings: Swiftly Speaking

Also see:

Daniel Craig credits Mark Wahlberg for hangover cure
‘Ghostbusters’ to film in South Weymouth
‘Django Unchained’ actress gets community service
Name-Droppings: Called on the Carpet
Name Droppings: Going Gaga
Name Droppings: Jenner Bender

I've got a game of my own to play tonight.