Movie review: 'Isle of Dogs'

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isleofdogsreview.jpgDirector Wes Anderson has a lot of cinematic trademarks that make his movies, well, Wes Anderson movies. There's the whole love of more or less symmetrical shots, for instance. A frame from a Wes Anderson movie is often recognizable as such for this reason alone. He's the writer of all his own movies (with occasional co-writers, of course). In tone, his writing features normal to the point of banal dialogue in unusual circumstances. This is reflected in his movie's art direction; for instance, in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, he filmed parts of the movie on an actual boat at sea, and other parts on a flagrantly obvious sound stage. The thing about doing this is that creating a huge stage and filming at sea are both difficult things to do that also don't really complement each other. He creates comedies, but they are often very dark; at one point in The Grand Budapest Hotel, for instance, an innocent woman's severed head is held up, and the primary emotion felt is relief. Under normal circumstances, the standard critique would be his films are tonally inconsistent, but, as even the sets are at war with themselves, this is obviously on purpose.

Also, he is known for violently killing off dogs in his movies. That's a thing he does.

Which brings us to Isle of Dogs. There is literally a plot to kill off every dog in the movie. Turns out, Wes Anderson might actually like dogs, however, because that's the villains plot, not the movie's.

Yet Another Research Dog - A furry game of workaholism

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YARD.jpgBack in the year 2000, a game broached shelves that became a social phenomenon. Maxis’s The Sims took the doll house that many, stereotypically girls, played with in their youth and put it onto the computer screen. In the shadow of popular “virtual pet” games like tamagotchi it took the idea of the animal pet and made them a bit more human. The result was not only a simulator where you could take your virtual human and help them climb the ladder of success, it was a game where the more creatively sadistic could torture the poor souls in ways that would make Edgar Allen Poe blush.

For those who are not into the whole torture thing, the game is pretty simple and addictive. You give your Sims stuff so that they can become more skilled so that they can acquire more stuff. There is a kind of cyclonic, capitalistic story behind it all, but the game does cut one thing out for the first iteration. The work part. While at home you need to keep your Sim’s bars full to keep them happy. Their sleepiness, hunger, bladder, hygiene, and such all have to be kept in check. However, the grungy and grindy part of the day, the effort done to make the money to improve the ever expanding home life, is cut out.

Movie review: 'The Shape of Water'

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

The Shape of Water movie poster.The Shape of Water (trailer) is a 2017 fantasy-drama film from director Guillermo del Toro, based on an idea he'd had since childhood. Essentially he wanted to make a happier version of the 1954 horror film Creature from the Black Lagoon, with the humanoid fish monster and the female lead falling in love.

And that's exactly what happens in The Shape of Water! It takes place in 1962, starring a mute woman named Elisa who's part of the cleaning staff at an American government research facility. In one of the labs, she learns of "the asset", an intelligent humanoid amphibian creature who's being tortured. Falling in love with him, she wants to set him free with the help of a small group of collaborators.

Roo v 2: The Furry Fracas (No one asked for)

Your rating: None Average: 2.1 (15 votes)

Two furry Youtubers, 2 the Ranting Gryphon and Tantroo McNally, find themselves in a poignant brouhaha. It all started in mid-February when an infamous furry comedian made a statement on hate crime statistics, and would lead to a long winded discussion of righteous condemnation that left audiences in awe at how two angry old men could find literally nothing better to do with their time.

Newsbytes archive for March 2018

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Contributors this month include 2cross2affliction, BlindWolf8, dronon, Equivamp, GreenReaper, InkyCrow, mwalimu, Patch Packrat, Rakuen Growlithe, and Sonious.

Animal voices for upcoming 'Doctor Dolittle' movie announced

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Robert Downey Jr. took the still unusual step of announcing the cast of his upcoming movie, The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle via his personal Twitter account. Downey Jr. will play the titular character, Doctor Dolittle, a children's book character created by Hugh Lofting who has the ability to talk with the animals. The character has been played in previous film adaptations by Rex Harrison and Eddie Murphy.

Pounced.org offline due to controversial sex-trafficking bill

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (5 votes)

Pounced.org logo Similar to Craiglist's decision to shut down its personal ads section, Dallas-Fort Worth-hosted furry dating service Pounced.org is down, pending interpretation of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which passed the U.S. Senate Wednesday.

FOSTA is intended to assist victims of sex trafficking, by allowing them to sue websites that facilitated their abuse. This gives previously undue liability to the platform for actions and content of third-party users; so Pounced.org is shutting down as a preventive measure while Kelar, the site's founder, seeks legal counsel.

The website, launched 15 years ago this month, hosted more than 13,000 ads from furries seeking friends, dates, or casual encounters within the fandom. Visitors are now directed to criticism of the bill from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organization.

Update 03/26/18: The message on Pounced.org has been updated. Users can now read a much more in-depth explanation of the motivation for the shut-down, and concerns over the meaning of the bill:

R.C. Fox commits suicide, regretted taking a plea bargain

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R.C. Fox R.C. Fox (Carl Kirkwood), a fursuiter who was charged for criminal possession of child pornography back in October 2017, committed suicide last week. The news started to spread after posts on Twitter linked him with a news story from the Pennsylvania-based Times Online.

The article described that a body had been found in a vehicle parked on the side of the road in an unpopulated area, that hazardous chemicals had been released within the confines of the car, and that a hazmat team had been dispatched.

This happened before he could be convicted of the charges against him. Carl had plead guilty as part of a plea bargain. However, a source who knew him indicated that he'd regretted this decision:

He already plead guilty [...]. And then, his lawyer found evidence that none of the child-porn rated content was his (network hacking). But in order to appeal, he needed $25,000 and he didn’t have it. He was going to prison until he came up with the money to prove innocence and he just couldn’t bear to do it.

Review: 'Furry Nation' by Joe Strike

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'Furry Nation' cover If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.
—Terry Pratchett

I am probably not wrong in my belief that many furs have little idea of how the fandom got started. The furry fandom is based around the appreciation of, and I'll simplify here, anthropomorphic characters. Furs find their way here through that appreciation and are able to join in immediately. This is not a bad thing but it is sad that many of us are unaware of our shared history. As we learned above, if we don't know where we come from then we are lost.

It's not that there has been no attempt to describe the origins of the furry fandom; aside from the crowdsourced wikis (e.g. WikiFur), we had Fred Patten's Retrospective: An Illustrated Chronology of Furry Fandom, 1966–1996 and Perri Rhoades' The Furry History Project. The first is not necessarily in the most easy to use form and both of the latter entries are chronological lists of major influences. Joe Strike's book departs from this format employing a mix of personal anecdotes, extensive research and several interviews with prominent furs to build a far more flowing, narrative history of the furry fandom.

2017 Ursa Major Awards vote is now open

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The Ursa Majors Awards logo. The 2017 Ursa Major Awards vote has been opened! Send them your e-mail address, and you can vote for any of the nominations in 12 categories. Voting closes on Saturday, March 31. Please pass on this annoucement if you're on a furry message forum or social media site!

The winners will be announced at FurDU 2018 (May 4-6). And if you have the time to vote, why not also suggest furry creations for the 2018 Recommended Anthropomorphics List?

This year's nominees are...

Newsbytes archive for February 2018

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Contributors this month include 2cross2affliction, BlindWolf8, dronon, earthfurst, Equivamp, GreenReaper, InkyCrow, and Rakuen Growlithe.

"What the Fox?!", a new anthology from Fred Patten

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The front cover of the general edition, showing a group of furries around a poker table.What the Fox?!, my newest anthology, will be published soon by Thurston Howl Publications. It can be pre-ordered, and after March 3, 2018 it should be available for purchasing directly from their online catalogue.

Bringing together twenty-one original short stories and two reprints, this 291-page collection is about anthropomorphic animals in funny situations. It's designed to appeal to both science-fiction and fantasy fans, as well as fans of humor in fantasy.

Everything from a llama barbershop quartet to a lupine generation gap, a rabbit king battling a dinosaur (or is it a dragon?), a human with a spider fiancée, a dog-hating postal worker turned into a were-chihuahua, inept wolf Vikings, to a dog movie screenwriter – and much more! All these stories are for your imagination and enjoyment. Plus you get each author's favorite animal joke, and a recommended-reading list.

Movie review: 'Paddington 2'

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

paddington2.jpg"Paddington 2 honors its star's rich legacy with a sweet-natured sequel whose adorable visuals are matched by a story perfectly balanced between heartwarming family fare and purely enjoyable all-ages adventure."
- Rotten Tomatoes Paddington 2 Critics Consensus

"I'm gonna wait for the goofy gorilla review."
- the late ba, Internet commenter

Reviewing Paddington 2 at this point is less an exercise in reviewing a movie than reviewing the very idea of a reviewing a movie.

It broke the record on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes for most reviews for a movie that still managed to retain a "100% positive" rating on the site with 187 "fresh" reviews, beating the previous record holder, Toy Story 2, which had 163. And though Flayrah reviews do not count towards the 'Tomato-Meter', even if they did, I have no intention of Armond White-ing the movie. It's a good movie. See it.

Furry conventions get bigger in Texas - outgrowing California

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (7 votes)

Texas Fiesta_0.jpgDeep in the fuzzy heart of Texas in February 2018, Furry Fiesta had convened at a brand new facility in Dallas to compensate for their continued growth in attendance. When the festivities came to a close, it was announced that 3,866 were in attendance. This number ups its ranking in the list of most populous furry conventions, it now being the fifth largest.

It replaces Further Confusion, one of the original large furry conventions from the early years of furry. The convention from San Jose, California has always had a strong following. It’s pilot year in 1999 saw it as the third largest furry convention behind the first major gathering of Confurence, another Californian convention, and the soon to be leader of the pack Anthrocon, which was in the Philadelphia area at that time.

Further Confusion is currently in a creepingly slow decline since peaking in 2014 at 3560. As of 2018 they are now at 3415, which is still higher than they were the year before they reached their peak. This stagnation in growth can be more likely contributed to factors of seasonal competition from other growing conventions rather than the Californian convention’s own actions. Furry Fiesta, being among them, which occurs only a month after it. But also Biggest Little Fur Con (Reno, Nevada) which is geographically within 4 hours San Jose, both contribute to some stiff competition for the long running event.

The rise of the furry visual novel

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (12 votes)

Get a writer, an artist, a musician, and a programmer in the same room and what can you make? Well a video game, obviously. However, you need to remember you only have one of each, so you’re not going to be making the next Skyrim in your lifetime. So what do you do? Well, use the visual medium of gaming to tell the story you want to tell in a slightly more interactive way. You’re now on your way to creating a visual novel.

While most visual novels could barely qualify as games to some, these literary heavy games are the go to for the more well-read, and perhaps more ‘casual’ gamer, that doesn’t mind letting the words immerse them in their worlds.

The genre has already had notoriety in Japan for awhile, but just like the anime craze heading to the West in the 1990s, this storytelling medium is starting to get recognition in other parts of the world. Digital platforms, such as Steam, are allowing for niche games to find a market where one may not have existed before. And if furries know anything, for better or worse, is what happens when niches connect by wire (or wireless these day).

Our fandom, in the past couple of years, has shown that it too has caught onto the rising genre and has jumped in with both paws, and for the lack of a better term— are leaving their mark upon it.
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From the Yerf Archive