Robert Wm. Gomez's

September 2018

Chopping Mall (5/10)

Somewhat self-aware low-budget slasher film about killer robots in a shopping mall. With the exception of one noteworthy moment, doesn't quite deliver on the thrills or the gore. I was more interested in the 80s mall backdrop and feeling nostalgic for some of those old storefronts.

Ultima VI: The False Prophet on MS-DOS (9/10)

Ultima 6 Chamber of Horrors

With the completion of VI, I'm getting close to having played all the games in the Ultima series. I own boxed copies of the Apple ][ versions of III–V, but when it came to VI, Origin switched to MS-DOS. In 1990 I was starting college, I didn't own a computer, let alone a PC, and, as the years passed, history became legend, legend became myth, and for two-and-a-half thousand years, the Ultima series passed out of all knowledge... or something like that.

In the late 90s I upgraded from an Apple IIgs to a Windows 95 PC and was reintroduced to the series via a soundcard bundled version of Ultima VIII: Pagan. That game was mediocre at best and it didn't finish it until years later—after I having played through a CD-ROM Classics version of Ultima VII. VII was a pain to get running on a Windows machine, but it was worth it. It truly is the precursor to modern, open-world RPGs like Skyrim in both its scope and richness of detail.

The False Prophet almost achieves the level of refinement that Ultima VII boasts. It's not quite there yet, retaining a bit of the Apple ][ era feel. Maybe that's why I think I liked this a bit more than VII. It doesn't try to hide the fact that it's a game. The interface takes up half the screen, there are a dozen or so unique commands (like a LucasArts point and click adventure), and there still are actual RPG elements like leveling-up and turn-based combat.

The Woman in Black (7/10)

Wait, there's a new(ish) haunted house in the olden days movie from Hammer films? And it stars Harry Potter? Count me in! The story never gets too far beyond guy in haunted house who sees ghosts, but it's effective and almost creepy at times. Of only they could have cast Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

Brawl in Cell Block 99 (7/10)

This was a lot like John Wick in that it depicts a fantastical version of crime movie. But Brawl is a bit more of a slow burn and actually has action you can follow. It doesn't go pure fantasy until the last third, and by then I was already sold on the lead character. The violence is over-the-top and it all feels like a sleazy 70s grindhouse film by the climax.

The Last Movie Star (8/10)

I was planning on watching this eventually but then Burt Reynolds had to go off die. I bumped it to the front of my queue. It's a bit Lifetime Movie-ish, so it's effective in pulling the heart strings in all the right cheesy parts. I have zero nostalgia for Burt Reynolds, except maybe Cannonball Run and Win, Lose or Draw, but I finished the movie caring a bit more for him and all the bad movie choices he made during his career.

Fearless Fuzz (6/10)

This has all the markings of a standard Itallian poliziotteschi, but the first third of the movie plays as a screwball comedy. The premise is pretty much the same as The Rockford Files: a charming, but poor private eye who can solve crimes that the police can't. The only difference is that the lead actor weird looking and not very charming. Oh, and the plot gets icky when it becomes about child prostitution. Not the ideal backdrop for comedy.