Robert Wm. Gomez's

August 2018

Unavowed on PC (8/10)

Unavowed

At this point I think we can all basically agree that every game that Wadjet Eye releases is going to be worth buying right away. This is Dave Gilbert's first game as lead designer since Blackwell Epiphany. There is overlap with the Blackwell universe, but it is definitely a departure from those games.

Possibly taking a lead from Telltale, there seems to be a more deliberate attempt to make your choices affect the story. This manifests itself first in that you choose one of three origin stories for your player character. Then, throughout the game, each chapter ends with you deciding the fate of an adversary. The consequences of your decisions don't really ripple throughout the game. They mostly affect the end-game sequence. Still, it's a worthy attempt at adding a little variety to the experience.

Annihilation (7/10)

My expectations were high for Annihilation. I thought the director's previous movie Ex Machinia was one best science fiction films I has seen in a long time. A lot of the right elements are there: solid characters, mysterious alien happenings, unique visuals and a squad of armed scientists sent to take on the unknown. However, the artsy, slow pacing hindered the movie. It's really easy to get distracted and miss what is going on.

Murder on the Orient Express (7/10)

This is the 1974 version, not the Kenneth Branagh handlebar mustache version. Unfortunately, I watched this knowing the ending (spoiled by a "host a murder" game I played when I was a teenager). I don't think that really matters much because, as with most of these types of murder mysteries, all necessary clues are not really revealed to the audience. The point is to get to know the suspects' quirks and then wait to have Poirot tell the story of what really happened. Nonetheless, it was an entertaining, star-studded affair and I enjoyed Albert Finney's Poirot.

Planescape: Torment [Enhanced Edition] on PC (6/10)

Hot Isometric Action

I think with this I have finally played through all of the original Infinity Engine RPG games. Icewind Dale I & II are still my favorites of the bunch. Those were about building up characters and skillfully fighting though areas. Torment is all about story, story, story. Normally that's a good thing, but when that story is told via an endless scroll of text and dialogue trees is gets really tedious.

Deadlier Than the Male [1956] (8/10)

No this isn't about bikini-clad assassins, this female predator is a bit more subdued. This is a French black and white film about a famous chef who is given news of his ex-wife's passing from a young woman claiming to be her daughter. Of course she's not on the up-and-up, but the old man doesn't see it. But her mysterious back-story can wait. The first third of the movie is filled with exciting restaurant action. I'm not kidding. Watching the staff take care of a packed room of odd-ball guests was fascinating to watch.

Pursued (5/10)

This is a relatively action-free western that features Robert Mitchum as a turn of the century cowboy with a predilection for pomade... and his sister. The plot is simple, but is still hindered by the inappropriate flashback framing structure.

Watchmen (7/10)

This is one superhero movie that I actually wanted to see. I read the comic and thought it was okay and the movie seems to track pretty closely to the original story. The version I watched was the director's cut and it definitely could use some editing. There's a bit too much backstory and too many tangents. Still, I thought it all worked well. Fortunately, there isn't too much cliche superhero action but Zack Snyder still manages to inject way too much of his goofy CGI style everywhere.

Split (8/10)

Well, turns out M. Night is still capable of making an entertaining movie. This was a humble thriller about three girls kidnapped by a man with split personalities. While it may spend a bit too much time dishing out exposition as to how split personalities are real and can cause supernatural-like abilities, the main plot gradually builds the tension and doesn't pull punches. And a sorta/kinda twist that's a genuine surprise.