Trying to sink into something new this weekend? Try the 2D action RPG Salt and Sacrifice, or watch the excellent "Drive My Car" from Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi. Or, if you haven't heard, HBO's "Barry" is back for Season Three — and it's somehow, inexplicably, even darker than before. Here are Protocol Entertainment's weekend recommendations.
Reflecting on Call of Duty
Journalist Patrick Gill does the seemingly impossible in a new video on the outlet’s YouTube channel: contextualizes Call of Duty within the U.S. military industrial complex. Over 27 minutes, Gill manages to flawlessly articulate what countless members of gaming media have tried to explain time and again over the years: How did Call of Duty become the shooter series, and what does it say about games as a business and a culture? It's a really fine achievement in explanatory journalism rich in media history, and I suggest anyone who’s ever struggled with the nature of the shooter genre give it a watch.
'Barry' is back
The dark comedy from actor and writer Bill Hader entered its third season last month, and it’s starting to get very dark. “Barry” is at its best when it’s juggling the serious depravity and depressive depths of its main character, a disgraced military vet and assassin-turned-aspiring actor, with the borderline surreal subplots and larger-than-life criminal associates acting as comic relief. And in Season Three, Hader is taking Barry into new territory as he starts to evolve from a likable but compromised underdog into a truly irredeemable antihero in a delightfully horrific twist on the now-classic “Breaking Bad” narrative arc.
The introspective 'Drive My Car'
This Japanese drama from director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, based on a Haruki Murakami short story of the same name, is an epic, three-hour-long exploration of grief that manages, remarkably, to be one of the most life-affirming films I’ve watched in a long time. Though actor and theater director Yūsuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) is still mourning the death of his wife, the film centers on a unique relationship between him and his personal driver (Tôko Miura), and how they process complex feelings of loss in different ways.
Sink into Salt and Sacrifice
If you’re fresh off Elden Ring and looking for another punishing RPG, the sequel to Ska Studios’ Salt and Sanctuary released on PlayStation and PC last week. It still features many of the Soulslike and Metroidvania influences of the most popular action indie games of the last few years wrapped up in a 2D side scroller. But this time, there’s a Monster Hunter-esque hunt system that introduces a fair amount of replayability, alongside a co-op system for playing with friends that helps make the repetition feel more manageable.
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