January 2017

La Donna Invisibile by Ennio Morricone (10/10)

Format: CD

A very mellow, bossa nova tinged soundtrack from a film I've never seen. It includes the fantastic "La Moda" which is a jangly, foot-tapping pop number and one of Morricone's finest moments. This CD was part of the excellent Maestro box set from Dagored.

The Stanley Parable on PC (6/10)

Choose boredom path A, or boredom path B

Another arty walking simulator for the PC. This one is all about the nature of choice and free will within a game world. You play Stanley, an office worker who finds that everyone in his office is gone. The game is dominated by an often funny narration that tries to get you to follow the "correct" path. The whole point here is that every time you think you are subverting the game but straying from the correct path, the narrator explains how your choices don't matter. Ha ha. ART! A fine exercise but definitely not worth more than a couple of bucks or an hour of your time.

Black Rednecks & White Liberals by Thomas Sowell (8/10)

A collection of six lengthy essays on race, history and misconceptions. The "Black Rednecks" essay is probably the most important of the lot. In it Sowell demonstrates that much of what we stereotype as black cultural norms are actually the continuation of Scotch/Irish herder culture. The key to improving their lot in life is replacing this culture with one that embraces learning and puts aside the misguided tropes of honor culture.

Wolfenstein: The New Order on PC (9/10)

Wolfenstein Ya Big Baby!

It's been a little while since I've played a current generation FPS, so maybe I just impressed with the slickness of it all, but I enjoyed this one. The New Order, unlike the 90's Wolfenstein, is very story focused. The premise here is that Blaskowitz got konked on the head, woke up a decade later, and found out the Nazis had won World War II. So, first things first, get a gun, join the resistance and shoot everything that moves.

Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings on PC (9/10)

Witcher 2 - Fight the Squidbeast

Witcher 2 takes what was a sprawling and somewhat unfocused RPG and refines almost everything to create an excellent role playing experience. They have kept many of the best elements from the first game such as its action oriented combat, limited gear choices, and adult tone. On top of that they added a much refined leveling-up system, better crafting/potion creation, and loads of interface tweaks.

Clan of the White Lotus (7/10)

This is a strange Gordon Liu movie in which he wants to avenge the friends who died at the hand of The White Lotus. He keeps having fights with the old guy and losing. Each time he learns a new technique and gets closer, but it isn't until he incorporates his sewing skills that he ever has a chance. The film was goofy (but not really funny per se), and has some good fight sequences and sharp visuals.

The Seven Deadly Virtues by Jonathan V. Last (8/10)

A compilation of humorous essays by eighteen conservative authors in which each tackles the merits and faults or various virtues. Overall it was a pretty good collection that doesn't get terribly political or partisan. However, it doesn't quite rise to the "Funny as Hell" tagline on the cover. Of the eighteen, my favorites were from Rob Long, Jonah Goldberg, Dave Burge and James Lileks (Sadly, I think P.J. O'Rouke has lost some of his edge these days).

Watch Dogs 2 on PC (7/10)

Watch Dogs 2 Selfie While Human Traffiking

Watch Dogs 2 is pretty much a straight up Grand Theft Auto clone. But instead of playing an immoral mobster who kills and destroys to achieve his goals, you play a righteous hacker who kills and destroys to achieve his goals. I think the game is going for a light-hearted tone, but all the indiscriminate murdering kinda gets in the way of that. Mowing down waves of security guards doesn't strike me as a appropriate response to an Internet company knowing your search history.