Fantastic Fest 2019 is just around the corner and a week before the doors open, the festival has revealed its third and final wave of programming.
Wave three brings a ton of exciting new titles including I Lost My Body, the award-winning film from director Jérémy Clapin, Jessica Hausner’s English-language debut Little Joe and Sea Fever which is being compared to such films as Alien to The Thing to last year’s Annihilation. In addition, they’ve added the World Premiere of Random Acts of Violence, We Summon the Darkness and the North American Premiere of Keep me Company.
The festival will also be honoring the career of Japanese maestro Takashi Miike with a lifetime achievement award and a special screening of The Happiness of the Katakuris. Check out the press release and full lineup below. You can find wave one here and wave two here.
Fantastic Fest runs September 19-26. Be sure to check back as we will be covering the event once again this year.
AUSTIN, TX — September 11, 2019 — Netflix brings the US Premiere of the much-lauded I LOST MY BODY to Fantastic Fest after an award winning debut at Cannes Critics Week. From director Jérémy Clapin, this singular tale of a severed hand trying to reunite with its owner is told in a striking hand-drawn animation style and won the Cristal award at the prestigious Annecy International Animated Film Festival.
“This has been a phenomenal year in terms of filmmaking, and we are proud to be hosting so many of the year’s best filmmakers in Austin,” says Evrim Ersoy, Fantastic Fest Creative Director. “Whether first-timers or alumni, we hope to share their work with our unique audience and to help elevate their voices within the festival world and with audiences at large.”
The festival will be honoring the career of Japanese maestro Takashi Miike with a lifetime achievement award and a special screening of THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS. With over 100 films under his belt, Takashi Miike’s work has been regularly featured as part of the festival.
This year, Fantastic Fest alumni are bringing exceptional new projects to the festival. ALLÉLUIA filmmaker Fabrice du Welz returns to Austin with the North American Premiere of ADORATION, telling a story of young love gone wrong. Drafthouse Films alum Katrin Gebbe follows up her striking debut feature NOTHING BAD CAN HAPPEN with PELICAN BLOOD, where a mother realizes something may be very wrong with her adopted daughter. Finally, shorts filmmaker Ryan Spindell makes the jump to features with the World Premiere of his fast-paced anthology, THE MORTUARY COLLECTION.
One of the thrills of Fantastic Fest is the opportunity to see the beginning of a filmmaker’s career, and this year’s fest will feature a trio of stunning directorial debuts. In SAINT MAUD, a live-in nurse is determined to save the soul of her dying patient at any given cost. In HOMEWRECKER, polite friendship forces a young woman into a battle to the death with the growing insanity of her newly-made friend. Finally, in AMIGO, lifelong friends find their relationship turning toxic following a tragic and crippling accident.
The sea is the inspiration for a trio of films that inspire very different emotions. In SWEETHEART, a shipwrecked young woman discovers she might not be as alone as she thought. In SEA FEVER, the crew of a small shipping boat discovers their craft infected by an unknown organism. Lastly, in RIDE YOUR WAVE, a surf-obsessed young woman discovers that death might not be the final stop in her burgeoning romance with a handsome firefighter.
Fantastic Fest is known for its dedication to the horror genre, and this year’s lineup is especially strong with an array of fantastic premieres. In the World Premiere of RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE, a comic book artist finds himself the inspiration for the grisly work of a serial killer. In the World Premiere of WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS, an after-party becomes deadly grounds for survival for a group of heavy metal fans. And in the North American Premiere of KEEP ME COMPANY, a romantic weekend getaway turns sinister with unusual occurrences at a rented house.
Cinephiles with a taste for the unusual will be delighted with a trio of titles that bend styles and genres to create something wholly unique. In LITTLE JOE, a scientific discovery threatens the entire future of mankind. WYRM concerns an alternative future where a shy, dinosaur-obsessed high-schooler struggles with a unique and unusual school requirement. And finally in NIGHT DRIVE a driver finds his boring evening becoming anything but when he picks up a young woman through a ride-share app in a glorious comedy of errors.
Alongside the usual vibrant and exciting shorts programming, Fantastic Fest 2019 brings a special focus to up-and-coming genre filmmakers from Mexico in a shorts block supported by Austin’s Consulate of Mexico titled MÉXICO FANTÁSTICO. The program opens with the disquieting thriller 9:40 starring Kristyan Ferrer (SIN NOMBRE), and proceeds with a selection of fantastic shorts that run the gamut in both genre and style, including the eerie folk-horror of THE WANDERING WITCH and disturbing sci-fi drama of THE ORIGINAL by Fantastic Fest alums Sofia Carrillo and Michelle Garza Cervera respectively.
Finally, live podcast recordings are back on The Highball stage at Fantastic Fest this year, with the return of Leonard Maltin’s Maltin on Movies, Doug Benson’s Doug Loves Movies, and April Wolfe’s Switchblade Sisters. This year brings new additions that include Horror Queers, The Horror and 5BY5 At The Movies.
Fantastic Fest 2019 – FINAL WAVE FILM LINEUP BELOW:
France, Belgium, 2019North American Premiere, 98 minDirector – Fabrice du Welz
Paul lives with his mother on the grounds of a mental institution and has little contact with the outside world. When Gloria’s admitted, he’s immediately fascinated by her and events take an unexpected turn.
World Premiere, 83 min
Director – Óscar Martín
After a serious car accident (for which he’s responsible), David decides to care for his best friend Javi at a remote house. It doesn’t take long until the animosity insidiously builds between them.
The Deeper You Dig
US Premiere, 95 min
Directors – Toby Poser & John Adams (Co-director: Zelda Adams)
The creation of a family production team in upstate New York, this unsettling supernatural tale explores the aftermath of a roadside accident, bringing together a mother, her daughter, and a stranger in increasingly surreal circumstances.
International Premiere, 86 min
Director – Zach Gayne
Societal expectations create a pressure cooker in HOMEWRECKER, a darkly hilarious satire that plays like the best bonkers thriller Lifetime wishes they made.
I Lost My Body
US Premiere, 82 min
Director – Jérémy Clapin
A severed hand escapes from a laboratory and sets off on a series of adventures across Paris, determined to find its owner.
US Premiere, 91 min|
Director – Lijo Jose Pellissery
The line between man and beast dissolves when a buffalo escapes slaughter in a sleepy South Indian village, leaving a trail of chaos and explosive machismo in its wake. It’s a landlocked JAWS, a bestial 2001, and a contemporary MAD MAX: FURY ROAD all rolled into one.
Keep Me Company
North American Premiere, 82 min
Director – Gonçalo Almeida
Two lovers meet in a secluded country home to try to heal their relationship without distraction, but the property’s pool has other mysterious intentions.
Austria, United Kingdom, Germany, 2019
Sneak Preview, 105 min
Director – Jessica Hausner
A genetically modified scarlet flower has mood-enhancing antidepressant effects on its owners, which become increasingly alarming as its influence spreads in this body snatchers for the drugged-out millennium.
The Mortuary Collection
World Premiere, 108 min
Director – Ryan Spindell
A young girl enters a secret room in a mortuary and learns the backstory of the mortician’s favorite deaths in this twisted anthology by Fantastic Fest alum Ryan Spindell.
World Premiere, 82 min
Directors – Meghan Leon & Bradford Baruh
When Russell picks up an enigmatic young woman through a ride-share app, his boring evening perks up. But all bets are off after they hit a guy with the car in this charming comedy of errors.
The Other Lamb
Ireland, Belgium, USA, 2019
US Premiere, 97 min
Director – Malgorzata Szumowska
Selah lives with her mothers and sisters in a mysterious cult led by Shepherd. When she begins to question his teachings, it threatens to destroy the very nature of their existence.
Germany, Bulgaria, 2019
US Premiere, 121 min
Director – Katrin Gebbe
German acting treasure Nina Hoss headlines Katrin Gebbe’s (NOTHING BAD CAN HAPPEN) sophomore feature about a single mother who adopts — and won’t give up on — a troubled little girl with a horrific past.
Random Acts of Violence
World Premiere, 80 min
Director – Jay Baruchel
A comic book writer visits the town where a serial killer previously wreaked havoc, only to encounter a new series of murders that strangely mirror the deaths he created in his comics.
Ride Your Wave
US Premiere, 96 min
Director – Masaaki Yuasa
Surf-loving college student Hinako crosses paths with Minato, a handsome firefighter, but a tragedy will change all they know to be true.
United Kingdom, 2019
US Premiere, 83 min
Director – Rose Glass
While caring for an attractive woman dying of cancer, devoutly religious nurse Maud develops an all-encompassing case of holy possession mixed with real-life obsession.
Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, 2019
US Premiere, 91 min
Director – Neasa Hardiman
The crew aboard a West of Ireland fishing trawler marooned at sea fall victim to a gradually spreading parasite in their water supply.
Texas Premiere, 82 min
Director – J.D. Dillard
After a storm at sea leaves her stranded on a deserted island, Jenn gathers all her strength to find ways to survive. But when night falls, Jenn discovers that the island isn’t as deserted as she might have thought… or hoped.
We Summon the Darkness
World Premiere, 90 min
Director – Marc Meyers
When Val, Beverly, and Alexis meet a group of fun-loving dudes in the parking lot of a heavy metal concert, they all decide to have an after-party, but it isn’t long before the group finds themselves fighting for their lives.
World Premiere, 106 min
Director – Christopher Winterbauer
In a strangely futuristic yet analog alternate universe, a lonely, dinosaur-obsessed youth struggles to complete a unique school requirement or risk being held back and enduring a lifetime of embarrassment.
Game Awards 2019: The Ten Best Moments
The fifth installment of the Geoff Keighley’s annual awards show has come and gone and as usual, we got to see new game reveals, new trailers, special guest appearances, musical performances, and more celebrities pretending they play video games. And in between all that, some awards were given out. Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodrigues made a surprise appearance, Reggie Fils-Amie kept up his perfect attendance record and the Game Awards Orchestra led by Lorne Balfe took to the stage to perform some of the biggest songs from some of the best video game soundtracks. All in all, the awards show was quite good— well as good as any awards show could be.
Let’s be honest, awards shows are usually too long, and most awards shows don’t do a good job of balancing entertainment with giving out awards. I mean what good is an award show if no one is receiving any awards but nobody wants to watch four straight hours of people giving speeches. This year, however, the Game Awards featured great performance including the opening by Chvrches and another by Green Day, who surprisingly still sound great when performing live. And unlike most awards shows, Keighley’s annual event didn’t try to stuff the evening full of lame jokes. More importantly, unlike other awards shows, the Game Awards also moved at a brisk pace— starting at 9:00 PM EST (not counting the 30-minute pre-show) and ending by 11:45. That’s less than three hours which is way shorter than say, the Academy Awards, Grammys, Emmys or Golden Globes which all average about four and a half hours in running-time. That’s not to say that the Game Awards is must-see TV but give credit where credit is due— Geoff Keighley did a standup job coordinating the event— and while it didn’t feature as many big surprises as we hoped, it still offered plenty to look forward to.
Here are the best moments of the 2019 Game Awards.
While Playstation didn’t have a big presence this year, Counterplay Games and Gearbox Publishing did unveil Godfall, the first official game announced for the Playstation 5. Pitched as a fantasy action RPG, “Godfall utilizes high-impact third-person melee combat to engage players as they hunt for loot, don legendary armor sets, and defeat vicious enemies. As players face challenging missions in the world of Godfall, enemies and bosses will reward fans with head-turning loot as they are vanquished”. While it isn’t as exciting as Sony debuting a trailer for a sequel to an already established IP like The Last of Us or Bloodborne, it’s at least a step closer to us learning more about Sony’s next console. I’ll take it!
9) No More Heroes 3
While No More Heroes 3 was first announced during E3’s Nintendo Direct in June, there wasn’t much to see other than a very short tease. Thankfully the Game Awards gave us a colorful new trailer featuring anime-style cutscenes and a mysterious new character — “a goddamn superhero”. After a ten-year hiatus, the action game is back featuring the all-American No. 1 ranked assassin, Travis Touchdown only this time, the otaku assassin must face off against some super hardcore enemies from space with his beloved Beam Katana in hand. Additionally, the trailer unveiled that the new project from Grasshopper Manufacture is launching for Nintendo Switch in 2020.
8) Ghost of Tsushima
We knew that PlayStation was going to debut a new Ghost of Tsushima trailer at The Game Awards since they teased its appearance during its State of Play presentation on Dec. 10— yet I didn’t anticipate just how gorgeous the game would look. And not only did developer Sucker Punch showcase both gameplay and cinematic footage, but the trailer was also followed by a live orchestra playing music from the game. It’s a big departure for Sucker Punch, a studio best-known for the Sly Cooper series and Infamous games but Ghost of Tsushima is easily one of our most anticipated games of 2020 and this trailer made us even more excited to get our hands on the game!
7) Fast & Furious Crossroads
The biggest surprise of the night was how excited I was when I saw the reveal of Fast & Furious Crossroads. Pitched as an immersive new team-based, vehicular-heist action game, the new project from Bandai Namco features voiceover performances from Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Tyrese Gibson—and, it promises an authentic storyline, packed with heroes, gadgets, cars and non-stop cinematic-style action. If that’s not enough, Fast & Furious Crossroads will deliver pulse-pounding gameplay both in single-player story mode and a soon-to-be-revealed multiplayer mode. According to the press release, players will travel from the streets of exotic locales to the murky world of international espionage, pulling off high-speed heists and stunts as they battle to take down a new threat. There’s going to be Easter eggs throughout for fans of the franchise to enjoy and joining the cast are Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek: Discovery, The Walking Dead) and Asia Kate Dillon (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum). Sign me up!
6) FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE
SQUARE ENIX gave gamers across the globe a holiday surprise when the company showcased the latest trailer for the highly-anticipated Final Fantasy VII Remake. The action-packed video explores the backstory of the game’s hero, Cloud, and his connection to the underground resistance group, Avalanche, and their struggle to save the planet from the shadowy Shinra Electric Company. It’s not the first trailer for Final Fantasy VII but damn is it great!
5) Xbox Series X
With the Game Awards, Microsoft unveiled the name of their next-gen console courtesy of a clever trailer featuring footage of some of their biggest games mixed with the sounds of “The Dream of Life” by Alan Watts.
Initially revealed at the E3 2019 press conference as Project Scarlett, the trailer for the Xbox Series X is perhaps the second-best trailer of the night and it reminded me a lot of Frank Budgen’s insanely brilliant Playstation commercials. While the trailer didn’t give us any concrete details to focus on, it did include its release window and it gave us a good look at what Microsoft’s fourth-generation console looks like. And while looks aren’t everything, I must admit the Series X is a gorgeous looking machine! I can’t wait to learn more.
4) Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2
While we didn’t get a whole lot of details about Series X, the reveal did transition into the World Premiere of Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, the follow-up to Ninja Theory’s critically acclaimed Senua’s Sacrifice. The team at Ninja Theory is doing some amazing things and this in-engine trailer was by far the best trailer of the night. Seriously, just watch the trailer— and tell me if it doesn’t seem like the game was directed by cinema auteur Robert Eggers. I love the pulse-pounding soundtrack featuring heavy percussions and devilish chants, not to mention the gorgeous art direction. It’s safe to say that Hellblade 2 just shot up to the top of my list of most anticipated games of 2020.
Released in 2017, the original Hellblade was created by a team of just 20 developers led by writer and director Tameem Antoniades. Inspired by Norse mythology and Celtic culture, the game follows Senua, a Pict warrior who must make her way to Helheim by defeating otherworldly entities and facing their challenges, in order to rescue the soul of her dead lover from the goddess Hela. The game blends several genres, including hack and slash, puzzle-solving, and psychological horror and was praised for how it portrayed mental health struggles in a sensitive and effective manner. While Hellblade wasn’t a hit when first released, it has since gained a huge cult following worldwide.
3) Untitled Beaker Game
Several Hollywood stars attended the Video Game Awards tonight but the biggest highlight came during a Muppets-themed segment when the renowned Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker took to the stage to present the Games for Impact award to the makers of Gris. Before they announced the winner, however, Beaker was given a stylish VR set so he could play Untitled Beaker Game, a game featuring both Beaker and the now-iconic goose from the smash-hit Untitled Goose Game. Of course, this isn’t a real game, but the segment was hilarious, and it did give us a good idea of what the indie darling from House House Studios would look like if it featured Muppets.
2) The Game Awards Orchestra
As they do every year, the Game Awards Orchestra led by Lorne Balfe put together another incredible performance as they composed some of the most iconic music from video game soundtracks released over the past year. While watching their performance I couldn’t help but wonder why Geoff Keighley felt the need to invite Green Day when all that fans really want to hear is the music from their favourite video games and not tracks from a rock band that doesn’t even work in the gaming industry. Hopefully, next year, we will get more of the Game Awards Orchestra.
1) Reggie Fils-Aimé
Former president of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aimé (who really needs no introduction), marched on-stage at the Game Awards and resurrected one of his most famous ‘characters’ for a brief moment before delivering the most passionate speech of the entire night. Despite no longer working in the video game industry, Fils-Aime who is an industry favorite did not want to break his streak of presenting an award every year and this year, he pretty much stole the show as he reminded the world why indie game developers are so important to the industry— and why the award for best indie game is by far the most important award of the night. Explaining why, Reggie spoke about the importance of indie development, comparing Shigeru Miyamoto and the late Satoru Iwata to the pioneering indie game developers of today. It’s moments like these that fans across the globe want more of— passionate people who work in the business delivering heartwarming speeches about why video games are so important.
‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Trailer: A Shot-by-Shot Analysis
It seems like superheroes are out in full force at the moment, as just a week after the Black Widow trailer was released, we have a new trailer for the upcoming Wonder Woman sequel, titledWonder Woman 1984. Let’s break this one down to see what we can uncover…
Warning:I’m going to be going through some theories that could be quite spoilerish if they turn out to be accurate, so keep that in mind before reading.
The Wonder Woman 1984 trailer starts off as we hear Diana (Gal Gadot) saying that her life hasn’t been what is probably expected since we’ve seen her last. We see that a picture of her taken at a place named “Trevor Ranch” — could this be where the family of her love interest, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), resided, or was it named after him following his heroic sacrifice from the first film? We also see that she still has Steve’s watch, which is clearly an important token for her to remember him by. A remix of “Blue Monday” by New Order is used throughout the trailer. Good luck getting it out of your head.
Diana is next shown talking to a character called Barbara Ann Minerva (Kristen Wiig). Minerva is important, as she is far more than just a random friend. In the comics, she is one of the women who takes the mantle of Cheetah, a super villainess and one of Wonder Woman’s arch rivals. Barbara Minerva is an archaeologist who in the comics ends up undergoing a dangerous ritual in a bid to win immortality. This leads her to becoming imbued with the powers of a cheetah, and she becomes a surprisingly worthy foe for Diana.
Just a quick shot out to these awesome 80s style logos. Very cool and reminiscent of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies.
Next, we hear the voice of another important figure: Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal). Lord is a business man, and he seems to be taking on the role of villain here, which he has done in the comics before. Projecting a sleazy, self-help business man image, Maxwell states, “Welcome to the future. Life is good, but it can be better, and why shouldn’t it be? All you need is to want it.” We see him pop up on multiple television screens as he gives this spiel before offering an obligatory cheesy grin.
When he was first introduced in the comics he was a normal human, but later Maxwell has telepathic powers that allow him to influence the minds of those around him. It would seem apt to have someone with those abilities act as a television salesman, so it is possible that this could come into fruition in the film. It could also be an explanation for another big plot point, but more on that later.
As Maxwell gives this speech, we see Diana in a shopping mall that seems to be under attack by thugs. We see her awesomely crush the bad guys guns before whipping off her tiara and throwing it batarang style at the mall security cameras.
I think her reason for doing this might be to keep her identity secret. In the present day, she is still (somehow) operating undercover (as shown in Batman vs Superman), so it would make sense for her to try and erase any captured footage of her — which would be much easier in the 1980s.
Everything You’ve Always Wanted
Maxwell continues to narrate, “Think about having everything you’ve always wanted” as we see Diana looking up at a plane in the sky. Following the events of Wonder Woman, wherein Steve sacrificed himself and ended up dying in a fiery plane explosion, she is likely thinking of him here. Lord’s narration also suggests this, as Trevor was clearly the love of her life.
We also see Barbara Minerva here, leaving us to wonder what it is that she has always wanted. In the comics, she is a selfish character with high ambitions, which is what leads her to obtain the Cheetah powers.
Trevor’s words from the first film echo, “I can save today. But you can save the world.” We then see him personally giving his watch to Diana (as he did before his sacrifice) before he seems to appear for real and they embrace.
It seems pretty much impossible for Steve to be alive — never mind being alive and looking the same way he did during the war — but it is possible that if Lord does indeed have strong mental powers, he could be making Diana imagine him to distract or torment her. That is just a theory of course for now; it is a comic book movie, so time travel and alternate dimensions are always possible.
Big Dish You Got There
A small shot of a very large satellite dish is shown briefly. Whilst it is impossible to tell what it could be related to, I wonder as to whether it could be Lord’s way of broadcasting out his powers to control people on a much larger scale.
Maxwell Lord holds rather intense eye contact with a mystical looking stone in the next scene. It may be that Lord doesn’t have powers at first and then gains them via this artefact? If Barbara Minerva is an archaeologist in the movie — like in the comics — it could be that she obtained this for him and they are working together. Lord also narrates “Now, I take what I want in return” as he holds it. Big bad guy vibes coming from him.
Some cool fight shots of Diana in her Wonder Woman attire come next. The standout is a particularly awesome slow motion moment where she deflects a bullet with her gauntlets. She looks to be inside the White House fighting off guards here, and it is interesting to note how vibrant the colours in her costume look. The saturation looks as though it has been turned up to eleven to emphasise the colourful nature of the 80s.
The next shot shows Barbara looking a lot more glamourous, and it is possible that her transformation into Cheetah has begun. Patty Jenkins suggests that Cheetah’s look will be part practical makeup and part CGI, but we don’t get a look at it in this particular trailer.
Steve and Diana take a ride in a plane in the next shot as fireworks explode above them. This could be a look from inside the invisible jet, which is rumoured to make an appearance.
Wonder Woman and Steve look to be involved in some kind of foreign conflict, as we them looking over an unknown city as a large wall explodes. Is this an important mission for the story?
Diana seems to be even more proficient with her lasso, as she pulls off a few new tricks with it in the trailer, including this spinning whip move on a guard from that White House scene. We also see Steve punch a guy…so is he real after all???
A moment after that, we see Diana running down the street before lassoing something in the air and being propelled forward. This may well be another nod to the invisible jet, or it could just be something that has yet to be added to the scene.
Amazon Ninja Warrior
A few Themiscyra shots are shown next, as we see some horses and riders gallop down a beach. We then get this weird obstacle course thing, and see some of the Amazonians flying through it with ease. Give those ladies a medal.
Lord is then shown in a chamber with an eerie blue glow next; again, this could be something to do with his powers. Perhaps he is amplifying them or gaining them in this moment.
Kick Em Where it Hurts
More fight scenes in the White House next, as Diana manages to look fabulous whilst kicking a guard in the stomach. She then does some flippy stuff while using her lasso. She is so awesome.
Do a Superhero Landing
The next shot looks like it is back in foreign territory. As a cargo truck flips, Diana leaps from it. A CGI-heavy moment, but it still looks like this will be an exciting action sequence in the film. We also see Steve punching people again, leading to even more questions. Diana has some interesting narration here: “Nothing good is born from lies, and greatness is not what you think.”
In the coolest shot in the whole trailer, Diana uses her lasso to swing on the lightning in the sky. Her goddess nature is really emphasised here, and I cannot wait to see this on the big screen. Take that, Thor.
One of the final shots is of Diana in her full golden eagle armour from the comics. She is likely to need to something more significant if she is going up against Cheetah. Cheetah is a vicious and violent character whose scratches and bites are as powerful as an actual cheetah and then some, so it would make sense for Diana to go full body suit.
The last shot shows a bit of role reversal from the first film, with Diana having to show Steve around and get him accustomed to a new world. Again, this adds further questions to his existence. Diana shows him around, explaining that everything can be art. He then seems transfixed by a trash can, but it is just a trash can. The memes have already started with this moment, but I just wanted to take a second to appreciate Steve’s fanny pack (or bum bag as we Brits call it). Diana’s outfit is also a nice shout-out to Lynda Carter’s from the old Wonder Woman television show.
Wonder Woman 1984
Wonder Woman 1984 is looking like a decent sequel so far. The theme of surveillance is sure to be utilised, as suggested by Diana destroying the surveillance cameras and the possibility of Maxwell Lord’s powers taking advantage of surveillance tools to reach a larger audience (not to mention the not so subtle nod to George Orwell’s 1984 novel). This could be an interesting theme for this day and age, where technology and surveillance are more prevalent than ever. There are big questions to be answered in Wonder Woman 1984, and I’m looking forward to finding out the answers to them.
Wonder Woman 1984 will be released on June 5th, 2020. Check out the new character posters below.
The Asus GX701 Gaming Laptop Competes with the Most High-End Desktops
As the gaming industry soars to new heights with more powerful technology—and manufacturers such as Asus, Razer, and Alienware—that brings the most beloved, pixelated characters to life on screens of various sizes, gamers often find themselves torn between what kind of hardware to utilize to get the most out of their gameplay.
Naturally, an individual’s desires and expectations vary from person to person, but for those who are consistently on the lookout for the best hardware on which to play their games on max settings with little to no frame drop, options tend to be far more limited—and expensive. Those limitations tend to be further strenuous for those PC enthusiasts who would also like to play their favorite games on the road.
Enter the gaming laptop, where manufacturers attempt to take some of the most powerful hardware and condense it into a mobile framework for those consumers with the budget and drive to use them. While historically it has been difficult for gaming laptops to even come close to competing with high-end desktops—something that is still up for debate among the tech community—the technological landscape has evolved to the point that manufacturers are on their way to narrowing the gap between laptop and desktop.
When investing in any piece of technology, however, there are various obstacles of which consumers should be aware while researching what hardware (or pre-built machines like a gaming laptop) do the best job of overcoming those hurdles. Everything from ventilation to CPU clocking and general performance based on the games in which one is interested must be taken into consideration.
In the search for finding a machine that can play the most graphically intense games on max settings without sacrificing frame rate, Goomba Stomp decided to put the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 to the test.
Before delving into how the Asus GX701’s hardware performs, it’s important to note the laptop’s hardware specifications.
The CPU is the i7-9750H Six Core Processor that clocks between 2.6GHz and 4.5GHz. Next is the graphics card (GPU)—the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8GB GDDR6 with Max-Q Design (which basically means it’s a watered down version of the standard RTX 2080 GPU due to its smaller size to fit in the laptop, sacrificing a small amount of power). Couple the CPU and GPU with the 32GB of RAM and the 1TB NVMe SSD, and the Asus GX701 is a mighty powerhouse on paper.
Hardware Performance — CPU
Functioning as the laptop’s brain, the i7-9750H Six Core Processor decodes the actions it’s instructed by the RAM to process. Even operating towards its base end of 2.6GHz, the Asus GX701’s CPU rapidly produces the output users command it to execute, resulting in swift completions that turn into web pages, game activation, reduced loading times, and more.
With a max operating temperature of 100 degrees Celsius, gamers can rest assured this CPU will give them a decent amount of wiggle room when it comes to putting the laptop under heavy loads. For titles that are CPU-intensive, however, such as Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Black Desert Online, and the Total War franchise (where thousands of soldiers and other objects must exist on the battlefield), it should be noted that the i7-9750H does get hot to the touch above the keyboard.
When its heat rises (often above 90 degrees Celsius when under a load), the fan kicks up to compete with the high temperature, often becoming loud. While the noise is both obnoxious and disconcerting at first, one becomes used to it after extensive use; though, the nagging sensation at the back of one’s mind can be enough to leave one paranoid that the machine is going to overheat and shut down. Despite this paranoia, the Asus GX701 never shut itself off during any of Goomba Stomp’s gaming sessions and continued exhibiting rapid outputs when receiving input commands while performing several tasks at once.
Hardware Performance — GPU
The RTX 2080 is one of various state-of-the-art graphics cards available to gamers. Released in September 2018, this 8GB GPU is just one step behind the RTX 2080TI. To put this card to the test, Goomba Stomp cranks Black Desert Online up to max settings, with its vibrant colors and overwhelming amount of assets (including other players in the game) and without losing any frame rate in the process. Doing so produces vivid images that are crystal clear at the maximum range available in Black Desert’s world. Everything looks real, and frame rate never drops below 60 frames per second (FPS), allowing for beautiful aesthetics and smooth gameplay.
Moreover, using Total War: THREE KINGDOMS and Total War: WARHAMMER II as the examples in which Goomba Stomp employs max settings in a strategy title and the “Extreme” setting for unit size (number of soldiers in each individual unit in an army), the frame rate does not drop. The i7-9750H works hard, heating up to 90-95C, but does not overheat or experience any catastrophic failures that result in the game crashing (even with the maximum amount of units allowed on the battlefield at once).
While playing these two titles does cause the i7-9750H to pick up the pace, resulting in temperatures that made the area above the laptop’s keyboard almost too hot to touch, the GPU has no problems rendering images while working in conjunction with the CPU to maintain high FPS. Indeed, for the likes of Total War, the RTX 2080, even with Max-Q Design, is overkill.
Something that all gaming hardware requires is proper ventilation, allowing devices to suck in cool air and blow out hot. To that end, a machine’s architecture must allow for vents that permit efficient intake and exhaust. Historically, gaming laptops have lagged in this regard, often relying more on decent thermal paste and powerful fans in lieu of sufficient vents.
To remedy this shortcoming, the Asus GX701 has four vents—one on each side and two on the back. When the laptop is under a heavy load, one can feel hot air being expunged from the system through these vents. Despite the amount of hot air that gets blown out of the system, the CPU still manages to get hot to the touch.
However, as mentioned above, since the laptop has not shut itself off to protect itself and the games played have yet to falter, these vents appear to be enough (when working in conjunction with the fan and thermal paste) to keep the machine within normal operating temperatures.
Software – MyAsus
MyAsus is a program that allows users to receive product information, as well as notifications that certain apps, drivers, or features have an update available. If the software detects any available updates, it will automatically notify users and prompt them to either download and install the update or postpone it for a certain amount of time (10 minutes, one hour, or four hours).
While this app seems useful on paper, its execution is a travesty at best. When receiving a notification regarding updates and choosing the option to “update now,” Goomba Stomp experienced a frustrating issue in which MyAsus drifted into a perpetual cycle of trying to begin the update process—the swirling icon next to each update indicating the system was processing the information never went away, and the updates never proceeded to be downloaded or installed.
Anytime Goomba Stomp opted to “postpone” the update for an hour or more, MyAsus pretended to not receive that command and would send another reminder 10 minutes later that updates were found. Therefore, the most useful facet of MyAsus was the ability to uninstall it and clear up a negligible amount of space in the Asus GX701’s memory (thus relegating it to the past tense). Despite MyAsus being a preinstalled program, it was removable and ceased to be annoying once discarded and virtually burned, never to plague Goomba Stomp’s gaming laptop again.
The most prominent miscellaneous feature is the ROG (Republic of Gamers) Armoury Crate application. This program allows users to adjust the keyboard’s colors and color animation settings, giving those with an interest in the laptop’s aesthetics the power to choose what look suits them best. From a static color pattern to a reactive mode in which keys don’t light up unless pressed, the RGB (red, green, blue) system provides several minutes of entertainment all by itself, until one figures out which pattern(s) they wish to use.
Moreover, Armoury Crate serves as a hub for ROG fans to browse online deals for video games (a store), a logistical manipulator that allows users to observe their apps and free up memory space at will, and a hardware monitor for users to track their fans’ RPMs as well as CPU and GPU stats (temperature, voltage, etc.).
For those with the budget and desire to possess a high-end gaming laptop that travels well and can compete with some of the most powerful desktops on the market, the Asus GX701 is a prodigious choice. With hardware that rivals almost any modern gaming rig, any game one plays will be a smooth, gorgeous experience.
However, bear in mind that the CPU does run hot, often idling between 50-60 degrees Celsius and heating up to 85-95 Celsius when under a load. Nevertheless, the ventilation, fan, and thermal paste work well together to prevent the laptop from overheating so users may continue enjoying their virtual worlds. Moreover, to assist with remedying the paranoia that abounds in one’s mind when dealing with the hot CPU, Goomba Stomp also invested in a cooling pad, which helps keep the CPU five-to-ten degrees cooler while under load.
Considering the horrendous perversion that is MyAsus being a troublesome and irrelevant preinstalled software is the only real drawback Goomba Stomp experienced, it’s safe to say the GX701 is a phenomenal machine, despite its burdensome cost and large size.
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