June 2017

Kidnap Syndicate (6/10)

A 70s euro-crime film from Italy featuring a barely-there performance from James Mason. Mason is out of the film at about the halfway point at which time it becomes a revenge story with little to no tension. The only reason to watch it is this fantastic clip of J&B delights:

Shadowgrounds: Survivor on PC (7/10)

Shadowgrounds: Survivor

The sequel to Shadowgrounds doesn't offer much new. There's the same aliens, same corny voice acting, and the same top-down shooting mechanics. However, I liked this one a bit more. This is probably due to the slightly improved control scheme. I also think the game was helped by the lack of an attempt at creating deep narrative.

Escalation by Ennio Morricone (8/10)

Format: 
CD

There is a lot of variety on this soundtrack. It feels similar to the excellent Danger: Diabolik score. But, unlike that masterpiece, none of the songs have grooves or hooks that stick with me. They are almost like ideas that were never fully developed. There is even some re-purposed music from For a Few Dollars More. All this adds up to an decent collection that is more suited for background music rather than for careful listening.

Miami Connection (7/10)

This one is mostly noteworthy for its wacky premise of new wave rock band karate masters fighting motorcycle ninjas. It's not as wild and fun as it sounds, but there is a big cheese-factor payoff in many of the scenes, especially the concert footage. Friends forever.

Spirits of the Dead (5/10)

Only the last of the three stories in this horror anthology is worth watching. It's directed by Frederico Fellini and is (no duh) quite Fellini-esque. At least I think it is. I've not seen any other of his movies, but it was very surreal and goofy. Supposedly these are all adaptations of Poe stories, but Fellini just makes his a take on stardom and the shallowness of cinema celebrity. The first segment is Jane Fonda falling in love with a horse and the second is basically a 70's let's play, watching two people play cards.

Hundra (6/10)

This third-tier fantasy movie starts out great, gets really boring, then ends on a slo-mo high note. The Morricone score hides much of the cheapness of the production, as does the cinematography and extensive use of epic slow-motion in the fight sequences. A film this low-grade probably doesn't deserve Morricone, but there he is saving the day. The lead actress is laughably bad at the acting part of her job but her stunt work is well done and fun to watch.

Life is Strange on PC (8/10)

Life is Purple

Life is Strange uses the same branching story game play as Telltale's games. The twist here is that your character has the power to reverse time and undo choices. There are a handful of puzzles that require some creative time shifting but the reality of this mechanic is that it is simply an alternative to using a quick-save.

La Tarantola Dal Ventre Nero by Ennio Morricone (8/10)

Format: 
CD

Although it contains two fantastic easy-beat Edda Dell'Orso songs, most of this is standard giallo experimentation. I also have a truncated version of this score on a two-fer CD which includes all that you really need without the repetition.