Robert Wm. Gomez's

Kwaidan (7/10)

Japanese horror anthology from the mid-sixties that features beautiful surreal sets and cinematography but is very light on the horror. There are four stories. I liked the first two in which there was killer hair and an ice ghost. The third is the longest segment and spends way too much time in historical flashbacks. The fourth one is about a ghost that lives in tea. Yeah, that's about it.

(9/10)

In the middle of the film I kind of forgot that it opens in with crazy dreamy imagery. It wasn't until it started to return to its more obvious dreaminess that the whole thing began to click with me. I still don't think I fully got it... something about art and truth and a mid-life crisis. Doesn't matter. It's beautiful to look at and by the end you want to watch it again, knowing where it's heading. I'm surprised I liked this as much as I did.

Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion (8/10)

I guess fantastical prison movies have been a thing in Japan since long before Story of Ricky. This one is as sleazy as a Roger Corman outing  but ups the brutality of the guards to crazy levels. It's not terribly gory, just ruthless and hyper-stylized. The best scene is when a fellow prisoner goes nuts in the shower and the lighting plus the make-up turn her into a wild kabuki killer. There are apparently three more films in this series, so we'll see how far they are going to take things.

Mysteries of the Unknown: Transformations by Time-Life Books (8/10)

Transformations is divided into three main sections: native American shapeshifters, werewolves and vampires. The shapeshifters chapter is filled with interesting images of masks and totems. The most interesting info were the stories about feral children. The other two sections  cover medieval tales of killings that were attributed to werewolves and vampires. The stories really are just about serial killers who blamed their ravings on the supernatural. Overall, a solid entry in the series.

Under the Silver Lake (7/10)

Apparently this is a highly divisive movie. Lots of one-star reviews and lots of five-star reviews. I liked it but I didn't think it was great. It sets itself up as the ultimate puzzle movie where clues abound in every frame. Eventually you realize the point of the whole thing is that looking for meaning is futile. I can see why that would annoy viewers who are looking for nicely wrapped up answers. This cop-out thesis aside, there was a lot going on to keep me reasonably entertained.

The Incredibles 2 (8/10)

Picks up right where the first movie left off with the family battling Cliff Clavin. Every bit as fun as the original but a little too long and thematically not quite as strong. Pixar animation no longer excites the way it used to.

Liquid Sky (5/10)

I can see why, in this time of everyone and their grandma being a cos-player, that this is a cult favorite. It's a stylish, incredible looking movie filled with wonderful new wave fashion. Beyond the slick surface is it's terrible editing, a stupid plot and a bit too many rape scenes for my tastes.

Nex Machina on PC (9/10)

Nex Machina

Nex Machina is the (almost) official follow-up to Robotron: 2084 or, as I like to call it, the greatest arcade game ever created. If you watch the credits you will see the Eugene Jarvis was the creative consultant for the game. As far as I'm concerned that means this is Robotron: 2085 (we'll ignore Smash T.V. ... NOT canon!).

It's just as frantic and twitchy as ever, and the core game play remains the same: shoot everything that moves and save the humans. There is a far greater variety of enemies, boss battles, and the graphic effects are stellar. Improvements include lots of hidden collectibles, a variety of secondary weapons, the ability to dodge, and lots of differing level designs.

One-armed Swordswoman (8/10)

This has all the trappings of a boring, low-rent "guys doing kung-fu in an empty field because the producers were too cheap to build sets" martial arts film. It transcends its cheapness with an over-abundance of gravity defying wire-work and bad makeup effects. The whole "one-armed" thing has no bearing on the story whatsoever either. She loses the arm and three minutes later she's back to slashing baddies. This is not a great film, but it certainly was fun.

Layers of Fear on PC (4/10)

Layers of Dolls

Another walking simulator but this time with a horror theme. The whole point of this "game" is to make your way through an old haunted house and get hit with a jump scare every four minutes. At first this is very thrilling. After the fiftieth time, not so much. Technically there are about three puzzles in the game. Mostly you encounter a lock, look around the room, get hit with a jump scare, and then see the combination in the aftermath. On top of this, the story is lame and required too much effort searching around for notes and clues for me to care. Glad I didn't have to pay for this one.